Sports Columns

July 7, 2014

A Look Ahead: Slowing down

Boys softball tourney is growing

Softball is for girls. And slow-pitch softball is for factory workers with a cooler of cold beer and bellies hanging over their shorts.

OK, maybe that isn’t really true.

And to prove it, Dalton and Heritage Point Park will once again serve as the host location for the Southern Softball Association of America’s 2014 Boys World Series beginning on Thursday. This will be the second year in a row that Heritage Point has hosted the event as 59 teams played in the tournament last year.

Tournament director Mike Mason said he expects 72 teams from around the Southeast for this year’s tournament, and he delivered a bombshell of an announcement when contacted last week.

“We’ve picked up some girls teams as well,” Mason said.

The thunder you hear in the afternoons are the boys softball gods falling off of their thrones with that one. Seriously, though, Mason said the demand is there and more and more girls teams are wanting to play.

“While most of your highly competitive players are playing fast-pitch during the summer, there is still a big segment of the softball community — men and women — who prefer playing slow-pitch,” Mason said. “In the past I did offer a few girls teams entry on a limited basis to the Boys World Series. This decision comes after surveying the tournament scene and sensing the need to offer girls brackets at this year’s tourney.”

This year’s tournament will include boys teams from ages 10-and-under through 20 with an age break every two years. Girls teams are through the age of 23 with an age break every three years.

Mason said the tournament is returning to the Carpet Capital because of the tremendous amount of positive feedback he received from last year’s participants.

“The word is out about Dalton’s ball fields, and Heritage Park is a great draw,” Mason said. “Word of mouth has really picked up, and there will be teams from the same areas as last year, but they will be bringing a few more with them.

“Dalton is the place where people want to be since the community and the Dalton Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce all make it so welcoming,” Mason said. “From a director standpoint, it is a good fit.”

Pool play will begin Thursday at 4 p.m. with a skills contest to be held that evening after the two games of pool play have been completed. Bracket play will begin on Friday with the tournament expected to be completed on Saturday.

Mason said there are still spots open in the tournament should any local teams wish to participate. Last season, a team of Murray County teenagers played in the tournament. The entry fee for the tournament is $275. For more information, visit www.boysworldseries.com, or call Mason directly at (931) 761-5878.

n MIDNIGHT MULLIGAN CLUB: Saturday will be a full moon, and plenty of lunar-tics will be on the course at Indian Trace Golf Club in Chatsworth for the fourth annual Night Lite Tournament. With glow-in-the-dark balls flying around the course and greens and flag sticks illuminated by glow sticks, the tournament is always a hit.

The three-man select shot (scramble) format will begin with nine holes of play on the back nine of the course starting at 4 p.m. After that, the fun begins. The participants will have a dinner at the course’s pavilion until the sun goes down. Then the teams will play the front nine. And while they won’t actually be playing at midnight (although you never know with the guys at Indian Trace), perhaps the Duffers at Dusk is a better nickname.

The cost is $60 per player and includes dinner. For more information, contact the pro shop at (706) 695-7353.

n STATE GOLF: Don’t forget that this year’s Georgia State Golf Association’s 93rd annual Georgia Amateur Championship will be broadcast by Georgia Public Television.

The tournament begins on Thursday at Idle Hour Club in Macon and will be completed on Sunday.

This year’s tournament field includes Chatsworth’s Tyler Mitchell and Dalton’s David Noll Jr.

Mitchell was a senior at Dalton State College this season and was part of the school’s first golf team in decades. He paired up with Chase Jones, another Roadrunners golfer, to finish third at the GSGA’s Four-Ball Tournament this spring.

Noll is a two-time winner of the Georgia Amateur Championship. In addition to his first-place finishes in 2003 and 2011, Noll was the runner-up in 2005, 2009 and 2012. An eight-time GSGA Men’s Player of the Year, he won the Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship this spring, his third title at that tournament.

Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Got an event you would like featured in a future A Look Ahead? Contact him at chriswhitfield@ daltoncitizen.com.

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