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Another banner season for area ball teams

It’s almost become an annual ritual at The Gazette-Virginian once Dixie baseball and softball teams, as well as Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth teams, are selected for post-season tournaments.

How many will make the World Series we ask each other, with the appropriate number of fingers raised to indicate the number of teams earning World Series berths.

After careful consideration and studying the rosters, I guessed at least four area all-star teams would survive the crucible of district, regional and state tournaments to make it to the series.

My guess of four teams was one short, as Halifax County sent five Dixie teams to the World Series, including three from Halifax-South Boston Dixie Softball, the Halifax American Darlings, Halifax National X-Play Ponytails and eventual World Series champion Halifax American Debs.

Our ultra successful Dixie Baseball programs had two county representatives in the World Series, including the Dixie Majors and Dixie Boys all-star teams.

The success of our Dixie programs in sending all-star teams to World Series competition year-in and year-out is remarkable considering what we are up against.

Halifax County all-star teams have to compete at times against all-star teams from metro areas with populations much larger than Halifax County.

Halifax County, which in the past has sent as many as eight different Dixie all-star teams to World Series play, continues to set the bar high in terms of championships on the district and state level, and I don’t think any other community our size in the Dixie network can boast three World Series champions.

The Halifax American Debs all-stars are the latest, having won the Dixie Softball Debs World Series last week with six straight wins.

Several members of that team count two World Series titles among them, having won the Dixie Softball Belles World Series as American Belles all-stars in 2009.

Of course, the Halifax National Belles all-stars started the county’s run of World Series titles with a win in the 2002 Dixie Softball Belles World Series.

Add two straight World Series titles by the South Hill Belles all-stars to the mix, and Southern Virginia has produced five Dixie Softball champions in the past 10 years, and that’s a pretty good batting average.

It definitely takes a team effort to win district, state and World Series championships.

It takes the effort of volunteers who spend countless hours in concession stands and on the field with grounds crews during both regular season and tournament games.

Most scorekeepers also are volunteers, as are game announcers.

Figure in the cost of meals, hotels and gas while traveling to distant sites for regional, state and World Series games, and the cost of uniforms, shoes, hats, etc., and you get the picture.

One goal remains, and I’m looking for one of our Dixie, Babe Ruth or Cal Ripken baseball all-star teams to capture a World Series crown.

Guys, the girls have raised the bar, and it’s up to you to cross it.

Judging by the support of our community and its volunteers, it’s entirely possible.