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Softball regional starts today

Starting today, the 2009 Babe Ruth Softball Southeast Regional tournament will begin, with some teams vying for a chance to play in the Babe Ruth World Series in August.

The Southeast Regional tournament will consist of players from six different states and 23 teams total in the 14-and-under, 16-and-under and 18-and-under age groups.

The three Babe Ruth regional tournaments will be hosted at the Andalusia Sports Complex, next to the Kiwanis Building.

Teams that will be playing in the tournaments are: 14-and-under — Altamonte Springs, Fla., Pamlico County, N.C., Star Town, N.C., Henderson Vance, N.C., Madison, N.C., Shenandoah, Va., Marshall County, Tenn., South Alabama (Andalusia), Northside Jacksonville, Fla. and Pitt County, N.C.; 16-and-under — Marshall County, Tenn., East (Pitt County), N.C., Ocala, Fla., Herndon, Va., East (Henderson Vance), N.C., Creeks, Fla., West Ashley, S.C. and South Alabama (Andalusia); 18-and-under — Skyline (Virginia champion), East (Pitt County) N.C., East (Williamston) N.C., Washington, N.C. and West Ashley, S.C.

Sixteen-and-under coach Tommy McDaniel said his team has a chance to do well in the regionals.

“I think we have a chance,” McDaniel said. “Our pitching is pretty good. Our defense is going to be solid. They’ve swung the bat pretty well for the best part of the summer. I think we’re going to play at a high level.”

The 14-and-under and 16-and-under age groups will both be playing in a double elimination format.

The 18-and-under group will be playing in a round robin tournament with the top three finishers advancing to a single elimination bracket to determine the winner.

Teams in the 16-and-under age group can qualify to play in the World Series in August.

Dwight Mikel, director of leisure services for the city of Andalusia, said the tournament should be a good one to attend.

“We just invite everybody to come out,” Mikel said. “It should be some fun softball to watch and y’all come on down.”

For more information about the tournament, call the city of Andalusia department of leisure services at 222-2714.

Complete bracket information for the tournament was not made available as of press time Wednesday.