Published 12:03 am Saturday, July 7, 2012



Scores of young athletes and their families will arrive in Andalusia Wednesday for the Cal Ripken 8 and under Southeast Regional Tournament.

Alan Bracewell, superintendent of parks and recreation for the City of Andalusia, said 20 teams are scheduled to play in the tournament, which will begin Thursday at Johnson Park.

“We’ve got an average of 12 kids per team and their families – all of whom are coming from West and East Tennessee, South Carolina, North and South Florida, West and East North Carolina, Virginia, and of course, Alabama,” Bracewell said.

Andalusia’s 8U All-Star team will serve as the home team.

Bracewell said play will mirror that of the 12 and Under World Series held in Andalusia in 2011.

“This tournament is on a smaller scale; it’s a regional,” he said. “There is no World Series for this age group, so this is it for them.”

Teams will arrive on Wednesday and should be checked into hotels throughout Andalusia by 5:30 p.m., he said. Opening ceremonies are set for 7 p.m. and will conclude with a small fireworks show.

“Area businesses have been great to donate with pizza and drinks and even small prizes to hand out when these boys check in,” Bracewell said.

Bracewell said local tournament play will begin Thursday and is tentatively set for 9 a.m. A definitive schedule has not been made, as two teams will end their season today.

Bracewell said local volunteers are also needed to help man the gates and the concession stand, and those interested should contact Mark Ingram at 427-3330.

“These are 7-and 8-year-old kids who are pretty good and very talented,” he said. “They’re going to arrive in Andalusia and be ready to play some good ball games. We hope everyone comes out to enjoy the games.”

Daily admission is $5 for adults, 13 and older; for kids age 6-12, $3; and those under 5 are free.

The arrival of the bevy of ball players this month and last is expected to generate an estimated $25,000 lodging tax revenue and allow the county to help host its third Babe Ruth World Series event in 2013.