Hundreds gathered at Bowers Park in Tuscaloosa Thursday for the opening ceremony of the Alabama Dixie Youth Baseball Division II tournament hosted by the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority.

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According to a release from PARA, this is the fourth year the tournament has been hosted locally, and this iteration will feature 40 teams from around Alabama who will compete in a four-day competition set to conclude this Sunday.

The AA, AAA and Ozone teams will play in a double-elimination tournament, and the top three teams will later advance to the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Anderson, South Carolina.

Northport's own Dale Phillips, the national director for Alabama Dixie Youth Baseball, Inc., said the organization is excited to return to Tuscaloosa for the tournament.

"This is an exciting event for families and players. PARA does an outstanding job in hosting this event and helping further the DYB mission," Phillips said.

Garrett McMillian, a product of Dixie Youth Baseball and current starter for the Alabama Crimson Tide Baseball team, conducted the opening pitch to begin the tournament.

Gary Minor, executive director for PARA, said the success of the programs has led to bigger and better things coming to this area next year.

"In collaboration with Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports, our success in hosting baseball and softball tournaments has paid off and as a result, we look forward to hosting the first DYB World Series Tournament event in August 2023,” Minor said in a release.

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