PROSPERITY — The Mid-Carolina Dixie Youth baseball franchise ceased to exist as of last Wednesday.
When the Mid-Carolina board met that day, members voted unanimously to change to a Little League franchise. The board consists of five members: Pomaria Mayor Darryl Hentz, Little Mountain representative Don Richardson, president Andy Moore, vice president Chris Cromer and secretary/treasurer Morgan Sease.
They also invited leaders from around the Mid-Carolina area who agreed with the decision to change to Little League.
“We invited them because we did not want to make an emotional decision,” Moore said, adding that the Wednesday meeting was a second meeting because they wanted to make sure they had all their bases covered. “The new Little League franchise will be run by by the same people that ran Mid-Carolina Dixie Youth since its inception.”
The franchise will be open to all children between the ages of 7 and 13 in the Mid-Carolina area, which is different from a Prosperity ZIP Code. However, the first season does have an exception.
“The 2013 inaugural season will be open to all in the Mid-Carolina attendance area or any child who participated in the Mid-Carolina Dixie Youth last year,” said Cromer.
Two age groups — an 7 to 11 group and an 11 to 13 group — will be available. The 11-13 group will be comparable to the Ozone group associated with the Dixie Youth franchise. There is an overlap which Cromer explains is because an 11 year old may not feel comfortable playing with the older children.
Sign-ups will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 26 and Feb. 2 at the Pomaria ball field, Little Mountain Ruritan building and Wightman U.M.C. in Prosperity.
To sign up, parents should contact either Cromer at 513-6232 or Moore at 924-1459.
“People do need to know that if you sign up at the Y or Prosperity Town Hall, you will play with Dixie Youth,” said Cromer.
The young players will play at Pomaria and Little Mountain, according to Cromer. However, the Jollystreet and Stoney Hill fields are currently in discussion with the boards at those facilities, he explains.
“We don’t want to be negative about Prosperity baseball,” Cromer said, “but this is for the vitality of our league and we wanted to grow for the benefit of our kids. We wanted an opportunity for all the kids in the Mid-Carolina area to play in the league.”
As for why the Mid-Carolina team went with Little League, Cromer and Moore said that it is international and the age range is a bit broader. Another perk is if the Mid-Carolina Little League makes it to the world series, all expenses are paid for plus there is television exposure.
The cost for Little League will not exceed what it was for Dixie Youth, Moore said.
“Dixie Youth gave us no choice based on the decision they made,” Moore said. “We are not against, have never been against, two franchises. What we were against was their (Prosperity) ability to draw from the Prosperity-Rikard area.”
“We wish Prosperity Dixie Youth the best of luck but are also excited about the opportunity that Little League will provide for the children of the Mid-Carolina area including those in Prosperity,” Cromer said.