Starkville 10-year-old All-Star coach Randy Carlisle discusses strategy with his team during the Dizzy Dean State Tournament earlier this month at McKee Park. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The 10-year-old Dizzy Dean State Tournament offered just a hint of what Starkville is capable of doing if allowed to host other All-Star event in the future.
Randy Carlisle, the coach of Starkville's 10-year-old All-Stars and active member of the Starkville Baseball Association, was encouraged by the feedback from the state tournament hosted by the city at McKee Park two weeks ago.
With 15 teams from across the state coming to Starkville for the event, Carlisle said the economic impact had to be significant because of the gas, food, ice and drinks that had to be purchased over a five-day period.
Carlisle said other than the rain showers that hampered play at times, those who attended the tournament appeared to have enjoyed the experience.
"I talked to several people in the community that just came and watched," Carlisle said. "They said they really enjoyed it.
"(The weather) wasn't terribly hot and wasn't too bad on the kids between rain showers. There was some good baseball played with good kids and good teams showcased."
Dr. Jim Brown of the Eye and Laser Center of Starkville was one of the sponsors who believed the tournament was a success.
Since about 150 players comprised the teams and those players had at least one parent present and in some cases grandparents, Brown agreed with Carlisle that it was a great opportunity for Starkville to present itself.
"It gave surrounding communities a chance to come in, see what we have and enjoy it," Brown said. "I thought it was well-done and hats off to the tournament director (Ron Mitchell) and everyone that put in time with the fields. It was just an opportunity for us (as a sponsor) to give back to the community and get our name out there to the surrounding communities."
It's the plan for the Starkville Baseball Association to bid on multiple tournaments in the coming years so people will come to Starkville instead of leaving during the summer months.
"Not to be ugly, but during the Fourth of July, people are usually leaving Starkville so if we get a chance to bring people to Starkville during those weeks through Little League Baseball, that's a positive for our community," Carlisle said. "This year, we wanted to try and bid on one (tournament), get it and use it as a feeler situation to see if we could get some community involvement. Next year, we hope to have two weeks in a row for two different age groups so we can use that time."
It has been a good year for Starkville's All-Star teams and the 8-year-old team continues its season at the World Series in Southaven.
Carlisle said the goal of the SBA is to help strengthen baseball in the city at the high school level.
"We want the high schools here in town to win state championships and you just don't roll them out there as 9th and 10th graders," Carlisle said. "They have to have a foundation and to play in events like (All-Star State Tournaments) helps develop that.
"After having a good rec season, you get the best of the best to go play against other communities to see if you are developing kids in the right direction."
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