Girls softball, Dixie League baseball in full swing at Longview’s Lear Park

Paris team manager Bronson Brown and tournament organizer Wes Skelton talk about making sure that fun and safety are both part of the game.
Published: Jul. 9, 2023 at 5:15 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Braving the blistering temperatures, it was ‘play ball’ at one East Texas sports park this weekend.

At Longviews ‘Lear Park’ sports complex, girls softball and Dixie league baseball was in full swing, along with trying to stay cool under the summer sun.

The girls fast-pitch softball was in league play, and Dixie leaguer’s of all ages were all playing for a chance at going to a Dixie league world series.

“My son’s pitching right now. They just love playing. When they’re here they play, when they’re at home they play. And our little world revolves around baseball,” said Melanie Barkemeyer, who’s son plays for the Paris team.

“Texas is the largest state in the Dixie program, in the 11 state program we’re in,” said tournament organizer Wes Skelton.

With dozens of games scheduled, the heat was taken into consideration.

Managers, and mom’s, made sure the young people kept hydrated between innings.

“Last year we were in severe heat situation, 105 -110 heat index. So we had to take 10 minute breaks every 2 innings last year. They know to take care of their kids. They’ve got parents on top of them and the parents pretty well make the managers take care of the kids,” Skelton says.

“It is hot. My son is hydrated, he’s got his cooling towel. he is hydrated for sure.” Melanie says.

Teams from as far away as Houston and Paris converged at Lear for the elimination series.

“Play your game, stay focused on the little things, and keep them up, get the most out of them, and that’s what we did today,” said Bronson Brown, coach of the Paris 8-U division 1 team.

Teams from Bullard and Paris among others, punched their ticket to a world series.

“We put a lot of work into it, they’re a good group, we’ve been playing together for a while, but yeah it feels awesome, really fun stuff, they’re a really good team. We’re off to go to a world series and see what we can do,” Brown said.

“It’s all to reward those kids that play hard,” Skelton says.

The winners will go on to play in the ‘Dixie youth baseball’ world series in Hattiesburg Mississippi.