SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — The Dizzy Dean World Series kicked off Thursday with softball teams playing at Greenbrook Park in Southaven.
On Saturday, baseball teams will begin play at Snowden Grove Park. Next week, more baseball teams will arrive in town to begin play on July 24 and July 26 at Greenbrook and Snowden Grove parks.
"We have 46 softball teams and are expecting approximately 80 to 85 baseball teams this week," said Danny Phillips, Dizzy Dean commissioner since 1999, told The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/1swI8g5 ).
In 2011, Southaven won the right to host all the youth baseball and softball tournaments for the World Series. The contract with Southaven is ending this year, but officials are hoping to keep the World Series in the city through 2019.
"I see no reason that it should not remain in Southaven," Phillips said.
Phillips and city officials plan to lobby for Southaven when the World Series' board of directors meets in November in Destin, Florida.
"The city of Southaven and the Parks Department have been great, and we've been nothing but happy here. I will be surprised if it doesn't come back," Phillips said.
The World Series brings teams from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina.
For the first time, a baseball team from Hawaii is expected to play in the tournament next week, Phillips said.
"The teams have fundraisers to come here to play, and this team from Hawaii has been washing cars to selling Coke cans to come play in the tournament," Phillips said. "We are excited because this is the first team outside of the South to play in our tournament.
"That's what we want, the tournament to grow and attract teams from all over."
Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com