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Ball tournaments bring dollars to town / June 26, 2013
Clarksville’s role in hosting two regional Dixie Youth tournaments this week — the District 1 Girls All-Stars and District 2 Boy’s Machine Pitch events — brought more than a few ball players and spectators to town. There were also shoppers, diners, and overnight guests who arrived in tow.

Virginia Avenue and the parking lot around The Lamplighter restaurant were full of cars, Saturday night — something rarely seen in Clarksville. Cyndi Ligon at The Lamplighter said, “Saturday night we were slammed.” The restaurant also saw significant traffic on Sunday, but Ligon was not as certain she could attribute this to the tournament.

“That is great news,” said Jason Claiborne, president of Clarksville’s Dixie Youth Program. His experience with Dixie Youth has showed him that “tournaments like this one do not just benefit Dixie Youth, they help the entire town,” said Claiborne.

Strolling through Clarksville on Tuesday as the girl’s All Star Tournament was winding down, several merchants were still talking up the success of the past weekend, and looking forward to a second weekend of All-Stars play. Dixie Softball is hosting district finals for girls playing in older brackets this weekend in town.

Don Cook, owner of Crossroads Emporium, called both Saturday and Sunday, “the best two days I’ve ever had,” from a business standpoint. His sentiment was echoed by Barb Martin and Mary Horn at Virginia Avenue Mall. All three days, Friday through Sunday, saw the mall flush with customers, as people looked for things to do between tournament play.

This past weekend was, by far, the busier of the two. Over 4,000 paid spectators, and 400 players and coaches descended on Clarksville for six days of girls’ Angels and Ponytail Divisions All-Star softball and five days of boy’s District 2 machine pitch baseball. The 26 teams came from as far away as Dinwiddie, Blackstone and Emporia, and included teams from Crewe-Burkeville, Farmville, Scottsburg, Halifax, South Boston, Lunenburg County, Chase City, South Hill and Clarksville.

While the final tally was not in, Claiborne said, before expenses, but after setting aside a sum paid to the Dixie Youth scholarship program, their gate receipts as of Saturday night total around $12,000. That figure did not include the monies raised through the concession stands or from the sale of Tee shirts and raffle tickets.

Claiborne said, “We could not have done it without the help of the town and all the volunteers who contributed their time a resources to make this event a success.”

This coming weekend starting Friday, part II of the Girl’s District 1 All-Stars takes place. Fourteen teams of Darlings (girls ages 7-8) and Belles (girls ages 13-15) from Blackstone, Brunswick, Crewe-Burkeville, Dinwiddie, Emporia-Greensville, Lunenburg, Prince Edward-Farmville, Nottoway and South Hill vie for the title of District 1 All-Star Champion.

Once again, games begin at 2 p.m. at either Shaver Field or Robbins Park and opening ceremonies will start at 5:30 p.m. Throughout the weekend, concession stands will be open, and there will be tee shirts and raffle tickets for sale.

Clarksville Dixie Youth Softball and Baseball started 50 years ago. The main purpose of the program is to provide a recreational outlet for as many children as possible with emphasis on local league play rather than tournament play. At the same time the program promotes the development of strong character, a right attitude and a sense of responsibility and citizenship in youngsters, as well as a sense of fair play, good sportsmanship and congenial fellowship.

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