29 days, 34 games; that's a lot of ball

Published 3:39 am Monday, July 23, 2007

By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
The All-Star season is often one of the most enjoyable parts of the year. Kids get a chance to show off their skills against their peers from other communities. The parents and community get a chance to show their support. It's also a chance to kill some days until the school sports season gets underway.
It's also one of the most exhausting times. Ten teams are representing the Brewton and East Brewton areas this summer. That is three more teams than what competed since I first started here. Since I arrived Brewton Little League has added an age 10-11 team. East Brewton Little League fielded a team in that age group last year, but did not have enough kids to do so this year. This summer I picked up two more teams with the Brewton Advanced Babe Ruth in the age 16 and age 16-18 divisions.
One of the biggest problems during the All-Star season is when tournaments overlap and you're forced to pick one tournament over another. It's a problem I share with parents with kids in multiple age levels.
It's also a problem I share with WEBJ broadcaster Dennis Dunaway. While we may take different paths during the All-Star season, Dennis and I usually follow the same philosophy of trying to make at least one appearance at each tournament and to give precedence to championship games.
This summer hasn't been as bad as some years. It helped to have five tournaments in Brewton (Little League 9-10s, 10-11s, Babe Ruth 13s and Advanced Babe Ruth 16s and 16-18s). That helps make up for last year when every tournament was on the road.
Even so, I have just completed a stretch of 34 games in 29 days. That doesn't even include parts of several games I saw as I waited for my games to start. It also doesn't include one day where I had a doubleheader (Brewton and East Brewton 11-12s) wiped out by rain. It does include one game (Brewton 15s) that got suspended by rain.
Weather can be a frustrating part of the All-Star season. It's no fun traveling somewhere only to have your game or games rained out. It's not much fun even if you're at home when the rains hit such as five hours of rain delays at last weekend's Advanced Babe Ruth State Tournament. Rain is one thing. A lightning delay, albeit a brief one, such as one I experienced at the 14s state tournament can be much worse.
Even with five tournaments at home this summer, my recent excursion to Sylacauga and Huntsville for the 14s and 13s state tournaments gave me 1,387 miles on the tournament trail. There may be the opportunity for more if Brewton's 16-18s can win the Southeast Regional. The Southeast Regional, which is being held
in Tarboro, N.C., is the one tournament I haven't been able to get to this summer for at least one appearance. Perhaps I will get a chance to cover them once again if they make it to the Babe Ruth World Series, which will be held Newark, Ohio.
Here is what I have experienced during those 29 days.
June 21: Advanced Babe Ruth regular season doubleheader (a little tune-up of things to come)
June 22: Advanced Babe Ruth regular season doubleheader
June 23: East Brewton Little League 9-10s district at Brewton
June 24: Brewton and East Brewton 9-10s district; Brewton Little League 10-11s district at Brewton
June 25: Brewton 9-10s district
June 26: Brewton and East Brewton 9-10s district; Brewton 10-11s district
June 27: East Brewton 9-10s district
June 28: Brewton Babe Ruth 13s district at Brewton
June 29: Brewton 13s district
June 30: Brewton 13s district; East Brewton Little League 11-12s district at Evergreen
July 1 Brewton, East Brewton 11-12s district at Evergreen
July 2 Brewton Babe Ruth 15s district at Uriah
July 3 Brewton, East Brewton 11-12s district rained out at Evergreen
July 4: Brewton, East Brewton 11-12s district at Evergreen
July 5 Brewton 15s district at Uriah suspended
July 6 Brewton, East Brewton 11-12s district at Evergreen
July 7 Brewton 11-12s district at Evergreen
July 8-11 a welcomed break
July 12 Brewton Advanced Babe Ruth 16s, 16-18s state tournament at Brewton
July 13 Brewton Advanced Babe Ruth 16s state tournament
July 14 Brewton Advanced Babe Ruth 16-18s state tournament (three and a half-hour rain delay)
July 15 Brewton Advanced Babe Ruth 16-18s state tournament (hour and a half rain delay)
July 16 Brewton 10-11s state tournament at Jackson
July 18: Brewton Babe Ruth 14s state tournament doubleheader at Sylacauga (15-minute lightning delay)
July 19: Brewton Babe Ruth 13s state tournament doubleheader at Huntsville.