Baseball visitors find Andalusia friendly, inviting

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 25, 2003

"Everyone here is so friendly!"

That seemed to be the general consensus among visitors to the 2003 Babe Ruth 13-to-15 year-old Southeast Regional tournament being held at LBWCC- Andalusia Campus now through next Wednesday. As teams arrived on campus for their games, parents settled in the bleachers or set up their chairs to catch the action.

"It's been very well organized," said Jan Maclaga of Greenville, N.C., who was there with his wife, Lynne, to watch their son Josh, the catcher for the North Carolina Tteam.

"It's a very nice town, with very friendly people," said Lynne. "This tournament is just super - they've got everything under control."

The Maclagas were also impressed with the hosting of the teams. Josh is staying with Wren and Mark Soles.

"They are taking good care of him," Lynne said.

Michael Cotney, a right fielder with Valley who is staying with Michael and Wendy Andrews, likes his hosts as well.

"We went to the country club to go swimming," he said. "They're pretty nice."

His team has Tuesday off from games, but there are no big plans that day for the beach, or anything else.

"Just rest," said Valley Coach Phil Johnson. "And be ready to play Wednesday."

Trish Simmons and her sister, Glenda Shaley Holmes, have today off from game-watching, and they plan to hit the beaches. They, too, have been impressed by the tournament so far and have enjoyed what little they've gotten to see of Andalusia. Here to watch Gelnda's son, Glen Shaley, play first base for his Tennessee team, the family came in full force, with siblings, cousins, and even a grandchild or two along for the ride. While Glen stays with Mike and Candace Cassady, they, like most of the parents and coaches, are heading for hotels at the end of the day.

"We are very impressed with the host families," said Glenda. "They've been very good to us."

Andalusia may have offered a warm welcome in more way than one, with the temperature Friday breaking the 90 degree mark easily. For the Tennessee crew, it's been the only drawback, since his particular summer has been rather cool up there, especially at the base of Sewanee Mountain, where the Franklin County team hails from.

"The heat's kind of beating us down" said Dwight Mikel, director of the city's Department of Leisure Services, who is coordinating the event."But when you've got 24 games to play in six days, you can't play them all at dusk."

Mikel said the first day of the tournament went well, with no obvious logistical snags.

"The weather's been great, we've kept the games on schedule for the most party, you couldn't ask for better," said Mikel. "I'm sure there will be glitches, but we can handle them as they come up."