June 26, 2009
Richard Ellis is optimistic about the future of the Dizzy Dean High School Baseball World Series.
But for now, the national director of Dizzy Dean Baseball is dealing with a decline in numbers at the World Series.
The Golden Triangle began hosting the World Series for the fifth time in six years today and the numbers are at an all-time low
The World Series started two weeks earlier than in the past with just seven host sites and 17 teams.
That''s one less host site and half the number of teams from Ellis'' first World Series as the national director four years ago.
Heritage Academy is not a host site for this World Series after being one the previous four years it''s been played in the Golden Triangle.
"We''re going to make it," Ellis said Thursday night at a World Series banquet at the Trotter Convention Center in downtown Columbus. "We''re all dedicated to doing a good job. We''re dedicated to the kids having a good time. We''re going to make it. It''s going to take some effort, but we''re going to make it.
"It''s not disappointing. I''m glad we''re still able to have this tournament. We''d like to have eight host sites and four teams at each site and that would be 32 teams and that would be a good tournament."
Ellis believes there are reasons why the numbers are down this season.
"With the state of our economy and the new high school rule that it just happened," Ellis said. "It''s just the sign of the times all over. Hopefully we''ll come back with the improvement of the economy and the Dizzy Dean World Series will have 30 and 40 teams again."
The World Series had to be moved up because of a new rule that public schools in Mississippi can''t play any kind of sport the first week of July
Pickens Academy, of Carrollton, Ala., and Holmes County High School, of Bonifay, Fla., are the only two out-of-state teams in the World Series.
The host sites are Columbus High School, New Hope High School, Caledonia High School, Starkville High School, Starkville Academy, West Point High School and Oak Hill Academy in West Point.
There will be only two teams at Starkville, Starkville Academy, West Point and Oak Hill, while there will be three teams at Columbus, New Hope and Caledonia.
Of the other teams, Mantachie will be at West Point, Kosciusko will be at Oak Hill, Neshoba Central will be at Starkville, East Webster will be at Starkville Academy, Center Hill and defending champion Ridgeland will be at Columbus, Pickens Academy and Holmes County will be at Caledonia, and Gulfport and Wayne County will be at New Hope.
Despite the decline in numbers, Ellis believes the making is there for a good tournament.
"I think with the teams we have we have an excellent bracket," Ellis said. "There''s going to have to be some tweaking done to it, but everything is going to turn out good in the end. It''s time to play ball and it''s going to be a good tournament all the way around."
Ellis said he sees the potential for good games at Caledonia, Columbus and New Hope.
"They are awesome pools and look real good," Ellis said. "They look real competitive."
The championship game is slated for Monday night at New Hope.
The championship game was played at Dudy Noble Field on the campus of Mississippi State, but because of the schedule change Dizzy Dean officials were unable to get Dudy Noble Field this year. Mississippi State is hosting its annual baseball camps this weekend.