Gonzales gears up for Dixie Youth World Series

Michael Tortorich
Gregg Patterson gives an update Monday night during a Dixie Youth World Series meeting. Several planners worked together at the Gonzales Civic Center to organize the event, which will be Aug. 6-12.

Planning is in full swing as Gonzales prepares to host the 2010 Dixie Youth World Series in August.

Supporters from 11 states will be in Ascension Parish for the 24-team tournament.

The Gonzales Dixie Youth World Series Committee met Monday night in the Civic Center to plan the event.

The committee went over finances, host families, concessions, souvenirs, opening ceremonies, the golf tournament, tours and the home-run derby.

The events will kick off Friday, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. at Spartan Stadium on Burnside Avenue in Gonzales.

The group plans to hold a Mardi Gras-themed opening ceremony with floats and decorated golf carts.

There will be some local flavor as area schools have been invited to be a part of the event. The group hopes to have school mascots, cheerleaders and baseball players in attendance.

Center Stage Performing Arts Academy, which is based in Ascension Parish, will perform during the Friday night event.

Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux and former longtime mayor Johnny Berthelot are slated to be the masters of ceremonies. They will introduce players and coaches.

Gonzales police officers and firefighters will present the colors.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has been invited to welcome the crowd. He is tentatively scheduled to speak at 8:15 p.m.

Following the governor, the players will take part in a home-run derby and around-the-horn contest. The winners will be awarded bats. Every participant will receive souvenirs.

There will also  be a ceremonial first pitch to officially open the tournament.

The event will end with a fireworks show.

Committee Chairman Gregg Patterson emphasized that the opening ceremony will be free and the public is invited to attend.

Another free event will be a special tour of LSU’s Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes invited the tournament participants to the tour.

“It’ll be a good opportunity for the people from out-of-state to see one of the nicest stadiums in the country,” Patterson said.

The games begin Saturday, Aug. 7 on four fields: Berthelot Field, Patterson Field, Spartan Field and Bergeron-Gaudin Field.

Games will be played every day through Thursday, Aug. 12.

The committee has been looking for sponsors and volunteers. Anyone interested in helping may call Patterson at 225-715-0919.