It was a great day for baseball Saturday at DW Wilson Park, as the Dixie Youth League got its 2019 season underway.
With Jody Martina as league president, and Brandi Horst heading up the Eastpoint division, Keisha Messer the Carrabelle division, and David Paul the Apalachicola division, it’s full speed from the littlest t-ball kids to the one just entering high school.
“Especially at the t-ball level, they like being out there,” said Horst, with teams playing twice a week at parks in Apalachicola, Eastpoint and Carrabelle.
“It’s teamwork, how to work together, how to be there for one another and support your teammates,” she said. “The kids get a lot of reinforcement and for some of them it’s the most attention they get in a week, attention from a coach or another player. It helps teach them leadership skills and how to be a good teammate, which can turn into being a good friend.”
Martina said the numbers are about the same as last year. “We get great participation from coaches and volunteers,” said Horst. “We have a really good group in Eastpoint.”
Morgan Thompson serves as vice-president, and Ladonna Granger as treasurer, for the Eastpoint crew. “We all do all the signups, uniform orders, concession stand, getting everything ready, all the equipment ready, to get everybody ready to play ball.”
She said each team gets its own sponsors, with $500 for a full sponsorship, which includes a name on jerseys and that helps cover the costs for equipment, additional uniform costs, concessions and trophies at the end of the year.
“We give them options to choose from, with each head coach picking out team colors,” Horst said.
She said sometimes, because Eastpoint might not have enough kids to field a full team, they get players from the neighboring towns. “That happens quite a bit sometimes,” she said.
Martina said after a very rainy Friday, the county recreation crew put “quick dry” on the fields, and all games were played Fridat, except for AA, which was moved to Saturday after the lights flickered. “Everything ran smoothly,” he said.
T-ball, ages 4-6
Two in Apalachicola, the Strikers, coached by Buck Melvin and the Blue Devils, coached by Bubba Mashburn
Two in Eastpoint, the Cereal Killers, coached by Nathan West, and the Sluggers, coached by Landon Nash.
Two in Carrabelle, the Little Slammers, coached by Kristen and Tevin Jones, and assistants Cheyenne Jetton, and Miranda Litton, and the Little Rascals, coached by Leigh Sheridan, and assistants Brooke Brannan, Amber Castor, and Nathan Tarantino
AA (age 6 to 8, with pitching machine)
Two in Apalachicola, the Marlins, coached by Jeff Fisher, and the Braves, coached by Ronnie Joseph
One in Eastpoint, the Slammers, coached by Chase Millender
One in Carrabelle, the Carrabelle Crushers, coached by Michael Messer, and assistants Matt Roberts and Steven Millender
AAA (ages 9-10)
One in Apalachicola, the Marlins, coached by Sugga McNair
One in Eastpoint, the Blue Marlins, coached by Levi Odom
Ozone (ages 11-12)
One in Apalachicola, the palachee Warriors, coached by David Paul, and assistants Ricky Abercrombie, Brad Blackburn and Will Luberto
One in Eastpoint, the Royals, coached by Travis Bentley, and assistants Timmy Butler, Reed Howard, and Larry Sterling
Note: These teams also Bristol and Hosford on Fridays, which are not in the district, which includes Blountstown, Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka
One in Apalachicola, Dazzling Unicorns, coached by Susanne Lichardello
One in Eastpoint, the Xtreme Divas, coached by Morgan and Jason Thompson
One in Carrabelle, the Pink Sox, coached by Cayden Barber, and assistants Savannah and Dustin Putnal, and David Keith
Darlings (ages 6-8 coach pitch)
One in Apalachicola, the Lady Bombers, coached by Steven Peterson
One in Eastpoint, the Lady Blaze, coached by JP Paul
Angels (ages 9-10)
One in Apalachicola, the Wild Angels, coached by Jack Frye
One in Eastpoint, the Tomahawks, coached by Hannah Millender and assistants Whitney and Brandon Martina
Ponytails (ages 11-12)
One in Carrabelle, the Franklin Finesse, coached by Levi and Danielle Millender, and assistant Ashley Keith
One in Apalachicola, the Heat, coached by Brad Johnson
Belles (ages 13-15)
One in Apalachicola, the Sharks coached by Dusty Mallon
One in Eastpoint, the Tidal Wave, coached by Tony Larkin and Alan Ham