LUMBERTON — The Lumberton Youth Baseball Association has been involved with various tournaments since it was founded in 1995, and the Dixie Youth World Series is its biggest investment yet.
Bruce Mullis, LYBA’s treasurer, said the organization is getting ready to welcome 700 players to the city after successfully hosting several events with a fraction of the number of participants.
“We’ve hosted a bunch of district tournaments with 10 to 12 teams in District 9, and state tournaments with 16 teams,” Mullis said.
LYBA also hosted the Southeast Regional for the Babe Ruth League at one point.
Both Mullis and founding member Carey Read expressed their excitement about working with Dixie Youth.
“This is by far the biggest event LYBA has been involved with,” Read said.
Read was on a long list of founders who were dissatisfied with recreational baseball leagues offered by the city in the mid-90s.
“They didn’t feel like the rec baseball league was all that great, or that competitive,” Mullis said.
Although LYBA was founded as an alternative to Lumberton’s preexisting baseball options, the city eventually became one of the organization’s supporters. That partnership continued earlier this year when city officials agreed to become a cosigner with LYBA as they planned to host the Dixie Youth World Series.
That support has helped LYBA stay stable financially and operationally over the years. It has also been instrumental in pushing forward the development of facilities within the city, including the addition of a new baseball field at the Ray Pennington Athletic Complex.
“We’ve never come close to dissolving the league,” said Mullis, who has been with LYBA since 1997.
The league hosted 20 teams this season throughout its Coach Pitch, Minors and “O”Zone divisions.