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Balls all over Brookhaven this weekend

Softball and baseball fans take heart.

Better yet, take a large swallow of Gatorade, coat yourself withsunscreen, grab a lawn chair, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellent,and head for the ballpark.

This is your weekend to cheer, holler, sweat and encourage yourfavorite child. Three state softball tournaments are scheduled forSaturday at the Hansel King Sportsplex. In close proximity, theDixie Youth Baseball Major League North Subdistrict Six Tournamentstarts tonight at Keystone Park.

A total of 23 girls teams are at the Sportsplex, most of themfrom out of the area. At Keystone, the teams are closer to home andthey have plenty of community support.

Motels and restaurants should do a banner business thisweekend.

One team with local players isSmith Brothers Sports of Picayune,coached by Ricky Allen of Brookhaven. Allen’s team is competing inthe ASA girls 18-under state tournament. Only three teams areentered, so Clarksdale, the Tornados of Randolph and Smith BrothersSports can finish no worse than third. All of them will qualify forthe ASA National Tournament which will be held at Columbus, July27-31.

Five teams are entered in the 16-under state tournament.Fourteen teams are competing in the 14-under state competition.including Lawrence County Lookout of Monticello..

The DYB Subdistrict Six tournament also is double-elimination atstarts tonight. Joining the Brookhaven American and National Leagueall-stars are teams from Wesson, Copiah County and Natchez.

In nearby Summit, the Windsor Gay Youth Sports Complex will hostthe DYB 11-year-old district tournament. The two Brookhaven teamswill join Wesson, McComb and Summit in the double-elimination duelwhich starts tonight.

Also on tap tonight is the DYB AAA North Subdistrictchampionship game at Hiram C. Newman Memorial Field in Wesson.

It should be a fun weekend.

Speaking of fun, adults often forget the fun aspect of youthsports. They rant, they rave, they bait the umpires and criticizethe players with the bellowing volume of a boom box.

Pity the poor player. There’s plenty of pressure to perform tothe best of their ability. They don’t need a mother, father, aunt,uncle or grandparent screaming instructions at the top or theirlungs.

Folks, it becomes down right discouraging. No wonder Junior isburned out on baseball by the time he turns 12 years old. He’sready to retire and pursue a different activity.

Promote sportsmanship. Put your best foot forward. Also, smile.Applaud the other team’s efforts and make the fans feel welcome inBrookhaven.

Also, be kind to the umpires. They absorb more than their shareof verbal abuse. Better yet, buy them a drink.

Detroit Tigers outfielder Xavier “Nook” Logan is a genuineblue-collar worker. He is one of the lowest paid players onDetroit’s active roster, earning $320 thousand a year.

By comparison, teammate Magglio Ordonez is being paid $7.2million to play the outfield. Also in the Detroit outfield, DemitriYoung is getting $8 million and Rondell White is earning $3.2million.

Consider these numbers. Logan has a .271 batting average.Ordonez is batting .143, Young .241 and White .298. Ordonez hadbeen sidelined by a sports hernia since April 13 but he homeredJuly 1 in his first game back in the starting lineup.

White, another injury casualty, has been out with a soreshoulder.

Logan, a Natchez product who played two years at Copiah-LincolnCommunity College, has earned his Major League Baseball spurs thehard way. After Co-Lin’s 2000 World Series season, he signed withthe Tigers and began working his way up through the minorleagues.

Last year, Logan got his chance midway through the season andbecame Detroit’s Rookie of the Year. A leadoff batter who usuallybunts or singles for base hits, Logan has blazing speed on the basepaths.

Certainly, Logan is in line for a hefty hike in salary when hiscontract expires. He’s also known as prime trade material. However,Nook has become a favorite in Detroit, due to his hustle and workethic.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com