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New league pitched to reps

Calling the new Cardinal Youth Baseball program for 13-18-year-olds a program  “geared to the everyday player who wants to play baseball,” Cardinal Commissioner Shep Moss made a pitch to representatives of area baseball leagues here Saturday. None of the local baseball leagues took a swing.

One local league official, Harrison Conner, who heads the Halifax County South Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth Baseball programs, said after the meeting that Halifax County South will not make a change.

“Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth Baseball is there to stay,” Conner said.

He said he and Dee Tillar, one of the leaders of the Halifax County South Babe Ruth Baseball League, attended Saturday’s meeting “just to see what was said. We intend to stay with what we’ve got.”

Mike King, an official with the South Boston Dixie Majors League (15-19-year-olds), said he will take the information about Cardinal Youth Baseball back to his league’s board of directors. King, however, was not very enthusiastic about the new league.

“I don’t understand what the problem is with what we’re doing,” King said.

“There may be some problem with some of the individual leagues in the Dixie program, but the Dixie Majors program in South Boston is solid and always has been.

“In all honesty, I don’t know what they (Cardinal Youth Baseball) can give us that we don’t already have,” added King.

“We have a successful program. We have money. We’re not broke. All of our kids play. To my knowledge, most of the parents of the players in our league are happy.”

King pointed out if the Dixie Majors program switched over to Cardinal Youth Baseball, the league would lose the 15-year-olds playing as part of the Pre-Majors division and will lose the 19-year-olds who are eligible to play in the Dixie Majors program.

“If we switch, we lose two years of age at our field,” King noted.

“That’s the equivalent of at least one team.”

Wally Powell, the commissioner of the South Boston Dixie Boys program (13-14-year-olds), said he heard some good points and some points he was not fond of.

“I’m going to go back to my board (the Dixie Inc. Board of Directors), and we will collectively come together and make a decision based upon the best interest of the age groups we serve,” Powell said.

Powell said the Cardinal Youth Baseball participation requirements were of interest to him.  Cardinal Youth Baseball will require that each player on the team play six outs and bat twice in each game. That requirement doubles the participation requirement mandated by other programs.

Cardinal Youth Baseball also requires participating leagues to schedule a minimum of 18 regular-season games with a 25-game maximum, with a recommendation that each team play only twice per week.

“I’ve always liked to have a longer regular season and more child participation,” he added, noting that the Dixie Boys program does not have a participation rule.

“I like those rules as far as kids playing more. It is rec ball, and every kid pays an equal amount of money, and everybody should get an equal amount of playing time as far as regular-season goes.

“I think a lot of them (players) quit because they don’t feel like they play enough or are made to feel important enough to be on a team. I want every kid to feel important, whether they’re playing Cardinal, Dixie, Legion or whatever. The only way kids can get better is to play. I’d like to see them all get better.”