The Midlands area will receive a big economic boost later this month when Lexington County hosts the 2010 Dixie Youth Baseball “O” Zone World Series Saturday, July 31 through Thursday, August 5 at the Lexington Sports Complex just off Highway #1 on Ball Park Road in Lexington.
Sixteen teams from 11 different states (240 players and coaches) including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia will compete for the championship in this annual event. There will also be a host team from Lexington, S.C. The other four teams are runners up from these states. The “O” Zone World Series brings youth ages 11 to 12 to participate in the eight-day tournament.
“When we hosted this event in 1995, the tournament brought an estimated 40,000 people to town with a $4 million economic impact,” said James Thompson, league president. “We expect parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and other family members to travel to Lexington during the week-long World Series event. Hotels, restaurants and other local establishments are sure to see an increase in business,” he said.
Dixie Youth Baseball awarded Lexington Dixie Youth the host site for the 2010 games after a bid process that included trips to visit with Dixie Youth Baseball’s national directors in 2008. They had to ensure we had adequate lodging, restaurants, entertainment and ballpark facilities, Thompson said. LDYB officials also attended four other World Series events to fully understand the scope of the tournament.
“Our main focus is on these kids and that they have a truly memorable experience here in Lexington,” Thompson said. “It’s the small things – the attention to detail – that will hopefully leave good lasting memories for these families. We want them to leave with the ‘Wow’ factor.”
Lexington Town Councilwoman Kathy Maness, also a member of the planning committee, is thrilled that Lexington is able to host such a prestigious event. “This is a perfect example of how youth sports can be a good economic development tool,” she said.
Baseball fans will enjoy a home-run derby July 30 at 2:00 at the Lexington Sports Complex. Admission to the derby is $1 per person with all proceeds going to the Dixie Youth Scholarship Fund. Winners of the derby will be awarded their trophies at the opening ceremonies later that evening.
Opening ceremonies will be held Friday, July 30 beginning at 7 p.m. at Lexington High School Football Stadium. The event is free to the public. After the parade of teams, fans will enjoy brief remarks from local officials, a special musical performance, and keynote address by Jonny Thompson, head coach of the 2010 Class 4A South Carolina High School Championship White Knoll High School baseball team. Members of the National Championship South Carolina Gamecock baseball team have also been invited as special guests of the event (but are unconfirmed at this time).
World Series baseball games will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 31. The South Carolina and local Lexington County team will take the fields at 8 p.m. against Alabama and North Carolina respectively.