Playing Ball with the Auburn Wildcats
The District office in Jefferson sponsored the Auburn Dixie Youth pre-majors baseball team as they advanced to the World Series in Florida, a milestone no other team from the area has ever accomplished.
Though they would later be eliminated, they found much success on their path to the title – on the field playing ball and off the field raising funds to help pay their way.
“The tournament costs are covered but there’s the added expenses of transportation and accommodations, not to mention food for 14 boys and four coaches,” said Lynn Neal, team mom. “Playing in out-of-town competitions wouldn’t be possible without local assistance.”
The 14 ballplayers who make up Auburn’s team were a combination from the two area Dixie Youth teams, at their level, forming an Auburn All-Stars team to compete in the state tournament.
After playing 30 games in five weeks and defeating the highest seed in the state tournament, they captured the title that would send them to the World Series as representatives of the state. “Coming into this season, I wanted to take a team to the state tournament,” said Joshua Willard, coach of the 15-17 year olds. “These young men certainly surpassed that.”
Jackson EMC Manager Scott Martin said, “Many young athletes become successful adults, and we believe that sports and extra-curricular activities play a vital role in molding young people. Some of these boys will have successful high school and collegiate careers and will reflect back on this extraordinary experience. We’re happy to play a small role in their lives and wish them much continued success, on and off the diamond.”