LUMBERTON — Lumberton Youth Baseball Association Treasurer Bruce Mullis is ready to see three years of hard work pay off when the Dixie Youth World Series begins Friday night.
Working alongside the city of Lumberton, the LYBA has been preparing since July 2015 to play host to 1,500 people during the two-week World Series.
“To finally see the efforts come to fruition of many local baseball people to bring the Dixie Youth World Series to Lumberton is a very gratifying and emotional feeling,” said Mullis, who also pushed hard for the construction of Northeast Park.
That was a necessary first step in landing the event, having a facility that could handle it. Northeast Park suffered a setback when voters refused to finance it through a bond referendum, but work then shifted to building it in phases.
“A group of folks like Carey Read, Mike McIntyre, Alan Fowlkes, Susan Walker, Cliff Nance and others had a vision to improve the baseball experience for our youth 23 years ago,” Mullis said. “Then pitching the idea of building a ‘field of dreams’ (NE Park) to the city and seeing it built also a source of pride. Now finally, with great help and teamwork of the LYBA board led by Tim Locklear, our ultimate goal has come true and we are the host of the 63rd World Series! I cannot thank enough Mira Kenny, Roy West, Gary Carr, Adrian Lowry and Alan Fowlkes for all they have done for LYBA and for this great event.”
The festivities officially begin with the first of two opening ceremonies at the Lumberton High School football field at 7:30 p.m. Friday. A second opening ceremony will take place Aug. 3 at the same location and time. The Robesonian will live-stream both ceremonies on its Facebook page.
A skills competition will take place at 3 p.m. on Friday at the Dr. Raymond B. Pennington Athletic Complex. The competition will include a home run derby, base-running relay and an around-the-horn throwing competition.
All World Series games will take place throughout the complex’s six baseball fields.
Competition will begin on Saturday with pool play taking place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Games also will be played on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before the tournament takes a hiatus until Friday.
Games will continue to take place daily from that point until the final day of the World Series on Aug. 9.
Daily passes for the Dixie Youth World Series will be sold for $10 per person, and World Series passes will cost $25. Children under 12 will get in for free.
The weather forecast calls for temperatures to stay in the 80s, with scattered thunderstorms rolling through the area throughout the first week of the World Series. Mullis said maintenance crews prepared the fields for inclement weather. Games will be rescheduled if weather becomes an issue, even if it means extending the event beyond its two-week time frame, Mullis said.
Mullis dropped a lot of names of people he said helped make it happen.