Sulphur Springs' youth All-Stars begin play this week
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
June 23, 2007 - Sulphur Springs' youth baseball All-Stars will start playing this week, but it won't be the same ol' game.
The local baseball association switched this season from Dixie to Little League, and with it came a new set of rules and new competition in All-Stars.
Robert Cody, president of the league, said the switch to Little League competition - which sponsors the acclaimed Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. - has helped the local association save money and brought new rules to protect players, especially pitchers.
"We haven't pinpointed the exact number, but the switch probably saved our local association $1,800 in operating expenses this year," Cody said. "Not only are there savings to the local association, there are savings to parents, grandparents and fans to watch postseason play."
Those savings happen because Little League doesn't charge spectators to watch district or state tournaments. Also, Hopkins County Baseball Association, which will be hosting a 9-10-year-old district pool this week, did not have to pay to host it, unlike Dixie competition.
In addition, Little League is self-insured, so the local association saved money on insurance, and Little League franchise fees are lower than Dixie.
"I think the change to Dixie was made because the idea was to play in am ore rural environment, which we have, and because All-Star games are a lot closer," Cody explained. "But, we felt the atmosphere was right to change back to Little League."
Along with the monetary savings, Cody liked the Little League pitching rules, which does not allow an athlete to throw more than 75 pitches in a game. Unlike Dixie, which has an innings rule but not a pitch-count limit, Little League makes pitchers rest after heavy pitch counts.
The breakdown is one day's rest between 21-40 pitches, two days rest between 41-60 pitches, and three days rest between 61-75 pitches.
"That helps protect your really good pitchers and uncovers talent in some other players as well," Cody said. "You can't get by with a couple of pitchers in Little League - you really need a four-man staff.
"It also helps them learn to pitch smarter and more efficiently."
The local teams will start their district tournaments tomorrow. The box at right has the schedule for the teams.
Little League All-Stars
(All games are 7:30 p.m. unless indicated)
(In all pools, second-round games are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; runner-up game is 7:30 p.m. Friday)
Top two teams in each pool advance to championship round
At Coleman Park in Sulphur Springs
Sulphur Springs Drillers, managed by Kevin Hudgins
Denison Gold vs. Irving
Sulphur Springs Drillers vs. Dallas
At Community Park in Wylie
Sulphur Springs Thunder, managed by David Maeker
North Garland vs. Sulphur Springs Thunder
Wylie vs. Denison Black
At Pepper Park in Farmers Branch
Sulphur Springs Rough Riders, managed by Sotero Ramirez
Carrollton vs. Sulphur Springs Rough Riders, 7:30 p.m.
Farmers Branch vs. Garner Garland
Winners play, 7:30 p.m.
Losers play, 7:30 p.m.
Runner-up game, 7:30 p.m.
Round Robin Format
at Central Park in South Garland
SS team managed by Scott Millsap
Sulphur Springs vs. South Garland,
Wylie vs. Dallas
Sulphur Springs vs. Dallas
South Garland vs. Wylie
Wylie vs. Sulphur Springs
Dallas vs. South Garland
SS team managed by Wayne Cooper
At Thomas Park in Carrollton
Sulphur Springs vs. Carrollton
Winner plays Dallas
Junior League (13-14-Year-Olds)
SS team managed by Jerry Riley
Sulphur springs vs. The Colony "A", at The Colony
Irving vs. Wylie at Wylie
SS/Colony winner plays McKinney in The Colony
SS/Colony loser plays Irving/'Wylie loser