As has been the case on multiple occasions so far this summer, one of the area’s athletic facilities is hosting quite a crowd over the next few days.
This time it’s baseball at Citizens Park, the site for the 2013 Dixie Boys and Junior Boys South Carolina State Tournaments, which begin at 1 p.m. today and will end with championship games on Thursday.
“It’s double the impact of the normal state tournament, getting to host both of them,” said Jeff Metz, superintendent of athletics and tourism for the City of Aiken Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. “It just creates a lot of energy in the park as well.”
The teams are from a variety of places, with Aiken putting a team in both the 13-year-old junior boys’ bracket and the 14-year-old boys’ bracket. Other area teams like North Augusta and Midland Valley in the younger division and Midland Valley in the older division will also be playing, but teams will be coming from as far away as Rock Hill and Hilton Head. Metz said some of these teams will be staying through Wednesday night in local hotels, so that will provide an economic boost to the area.
Also coming to town will be quality programs like Sumter, which has a team in both brackets.
Sumter won the 13-year-old division a year ago, and many of those same players can be expected on the 14-year-old team, which will help kick off the action at 1 p.m. today against Hilton Head.
While such talented teams aren’t likely to be “intimidated” by the trip to Aiken, Metz was optimistic that playing on their home fields would give local teams at least a slight edge.
“Hopefully Aiken has home-field advantage through the support they receive from the community,” he said. “We want everyone to come out and cheer them on. It is always interesting to see how our teams stack up against the rest of the state.”
In the 13-year-old bracket, North Augusta will play Lexington today at 4 p.m. on Field 7, followed by Aiken and Midland Valley on the same field. At the older level, Midland Valley will play Lexington on Field 9 at 4 p.m., and Aiken will play Iva on the same field at 7:30 p.m.
Tournament passes for the pair of double-elimination events are available for $20 for adults and $12 for youth ages 7 through 17, with day passes available for $6 for adults and $4 for youth. Kids 6 and under get in free.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.
At a glance
WHAT: Dixie Boys and Junior Boys South Carolina State Tournaments
WHERE: Citizens Park
WHEN: Today through Thursday
COST: Tournament passes/day passes — Adults $20/$6, Youth ages 7-17 $12/$4, Kids 6 and under free
TODAY’S SCHEDULE 13-year-olds
Beaufort vs. Sumter, Field 6
McLeod Park vs. Rock Hill, Field 7
Lancaster vs. Westminster, Field 6
North Augusta vs. Lexington, Field 7
Hilton Head vs. Aynor, Field 6
Midland Valley vs. Aiken, Field 7
Hilton Head vs. Sumter, Field 8
McLeod park vs. Pineview, Field 9
Lancaster vs. Walhalla, Field 8
Midland Valley vs. Lexington, Field 9
Barnwell vs. Aynor, Field 8
Iva vs. Aiken, Field 9
• Opening ceremony for both events set for 7 p.m.