The future of baseball is setting up shop in Monroe County the next two weeks.
Sweetwater will host the 2019 Tennessee Dixie Youth Baseball 9/10 AAA State Tournament from Thursday, July 11 to Tuesday, July 16, bringing in some of the top youth baseball talent in the state.
The 16-team tournament will include hundreds of players, dozens of coaches and numerous parents and supporters. Sweetwater has hosted youth state tournaments multiple times, last seeing one, the 2017 11/12 Ozone State Tournament, come to town in 2017.
All 16 teams will play in the tournament’s opening round on Thursday.
East Robertson will play Lookout Mountain in Game 1 at 1 p.m., while Campbell County takes on Greenbrier in Game 2, also at 1 p.m. At 3 p.m., the Signal Mountain Reds face Kingston and Pleasant View plays Mt. Pleasant in Games 3 and 4, respectively.
Greenback and Centerville play in Game 5 at 5 p.m., while the other 5 p.m. matchup, Game 7, sees Summertown face Chester County. Savannah takes on host Sweetwater at 7 p.m. in Game 6, and Game 8, also at 7 p.m., features a bout between Dickson County and Springfield.
The tournament’s championship game will be played at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
Lebanon American won the Ozone State Tournament the last time it was hosted by Sweetwater, defeating Fairview to claim the title 2017 title.
That year, Sweetwater’s team won the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award and was eliminated by Dickson County after a run that featured a win over Whitehouse American and a loss to Lebanon American.
Tellico’s team’s campaign, meanwhile, included wins over Campbell County and Whitehouse American before it was ended with a loss to Pleasant View.
Bringing a youth state tournament to a local community can easily pay off, not just in the fun of taking in some baseball, but also in an increase of revenue and the economic benefits that come with that.
Not only do area hotels reap the benefits of numerous families needing lodging for multiple nights, but local businesses such as restaurants and attractions can take the opportunity to draw in the influx of people to the area.
“There is so much to do between games … it is a win-win for everybody,” Sweetwater Mayor Doyle Lowe said before the 2017 Ozone State Tournament.
5/6 All-Stars win state title, World Series up next
While one state tournament will begin in the town on Thursday, another Sweetwater youth team already claimed a title in its own championship.
The Sweetwater 5/6 All-Stars won the Tennessee Dixie Youth Class A State Championship on Sunday, defeating Fairview 21-10.
Sweetwater also won 15-0 against Dyersburg, 19-11 against Fairview, 21-2 against Signal Mountain, 18-6 against Pleasant View, 21-2 against Savannah, 20-5 against Springfield and 11-9 against Dickson County earlier in the tournament.
The team will play in the Dixie Youth World Series, representing the state of Tennessee, in Brookhaven, Mississippi, beginning the week of July 17.