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)

9-10-Year-Olds

District 8

(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

Pool A

At Coleman Park in Sulphur Springs

Sulphur Springs Drillers, managed by Kevin Hudgins

Monday

Denison Gold vs. Irving

Sulphur Springs Drillers vs. Dallas

Pool C

At Community Park in Wylie

Sulphur Springs Thunder, managed by David Maeker

Monday

North Garland vs. Sulphur Springs Thunder

Wylie vs. Denison Black

Pool D

At Pepper Park in Farmers Branch

Sulphur Springs Rough Riders, managed by Sotero Ramirez

Monday

Carrollton vs. Sulphur Springs Rough Riders, 7:30 p.m.

Farmers Branch vs. Garner Garland

Wednesday

Winners play, 7:30 p.m.

Losers play, 7:30 p.m.

Friday

Runner-up game, 7:30 p.m.

10-11-Year-Olds

District 8

Round Robin Format

at Central Park in South Garland

SS team managed by Scott Millsap

Tuesday

Sulphur Springs vs. South Garland,

Wylie vs. Dallas

Thursday

Sulphur Springs vs. Dallas

South Garland vs. Wylie

Saturday

Wylie vs. Sulphur Springs

Dallas vs. South Garland

11-12-Year-Olds

District 8

SS team managed by Wayne Cooper

Pool D

At Thomas Park in Carrollton

Tuesday

Sulphur Springs vs. Carrollton

Thursday

Winner plays Dallas

Saturday

Runner-up game

Junior League (13-14-Year-Olds)

District 8

SS team managed by Jerry Riley

Pool B

Monday

Sulphur springs vs. The Colony "A", at The Colony

Irving vs. Wylie at Wylie

Tuesday

SS/Colony winner plays McKinney in The Colony

SS/Colony loser plays Irving/'Wylie loser

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