Baseball fans will have a chance to catch plenty of games in Dunn this weekend, as the city will host this year’s Dixie Youth AAA State Tournaments.
There will be 24 teams made up of 10-and-under players, including the hometown Dunn All-Stars coached by Brandon Tyndall. Dunn Parks and Recreation Director Brian McNeill said that roughly 300 players and coaches will make their way to Dunn, along with their families.
“We’re expecting up to 1,000 people to be at our facilities this weekend,” McNeill said.
Dunn put in a bid to host the state tournament last year. All of the bids go to the Dixie Youth board made up of state and national directors who decide the host sites.
This will be the fifth time Dunn has hosted the state tournament, and the second time the city has hosted the 10-and-under tournament.
“Any time we’ve hosted there’s been positive feedback, as far as our facilities and our staff. So typically, when we put in a bid, we get to host,” McNeill said.
There will be two tournaments: a Division 1 tournament, made up of 16 teams, and a Division 2 tournament, made up of 8 teams. Dunn will be competing in the Division 1 tournament.
“We have a really strong team this year,” McNeill said. “I’m excited to see how they do.”
Opening ceremonies will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Nathan Harris Athletic Complex at Tyler Park. Prior to that, teams will arrive at 5 for a mandatory coaches meeting. A complimentary meal will be provided for teams first, then families. At 5:45, there will be an “Around the Horn” contest.
Games will start early Saturday morning. Burgaw and Whiteville will kick off the action at 10:30 a.m. on the Greenwaves Field. Dunn will play in the final “primetime” game of the day, as they’re set to go up against West Robeson at 5 p.m. on the IGA Field.
McNeill said he’s excited for things to get started, and believes the tournament is a win for everyone.
“It doesn’t only showcase our parks and our athletic programs, but it showcases our city as a whole,” McNeill said. “I think everyone benefits, from hotels to restaurants to even gas stations.”