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Birdies for baseball
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By Jason Coffin

Birdies and eagles were abundant at The Oaks Course Friday in support of the upcoming Dixie Boys World Series held in Covington August 1-7.

In fact, the Newton County Recreation Commission, with the help of director Tommy Hailey, Jeremy Schearer, Kevin Rollins and countless volunteers, put together an enjoyable and profitable golf tournament.

"I am excited that we (had) such a beautiful day for golf on such a beautiful golf course as The Oaks," Hailey said, "and I'm excited that we had such a good turnout in support of our event."

In spite of the ominous date - Friday the 13th - the event started without a hitch, as approximately 80 linksters donated their golf balls and money to support the worthy cause.

This year's World Series will mark the fourth time Newton County has played host to the event, which consists of 13-14 year old Little League squads from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.

The process to land such a prestigious event takes years of work, including an intense bidding process, formation and management of various committees and many volunteers from the community.

"We couldn't have pulled off getting the World Series here if not for the help from all the committees and all the hard work of the volunteers," Hailey acknowledged.

Rollins and Schearer headed up the golf tournament committee, and were happy with the overall benefits it yielded.

Though Rollins would have liked to recruit more teams to participate in the event, he said "the overall goal of raising money and creating awareness of the World Series to the community were met."

Adding, "The weather was great, the wide variety of businesses that participated was great and the Oaks did a nice job of hosting us."

The format for the golf tournament was a scramble, and the winning team sponsored by The Oaks Course shot a gross score of 52 through the combined efforts of Dick Schulz, Danyel McKibben, Trey Rusk and Tate Miller.

Yet Schulz, managing partner of The Oaks Course, played down the victory.

"One of the missions of The Oaks Course has always been to support programs that benefit the youth of Newton County," he said, "and we try to assist Tommy and the recreation department anytime they need our help since they do such a wonderful job."

After the tournament ended, Hailey thanked his staff, volunteers and committees for all the hard work.

"This is not something that you put together in a year," Hailey said.

In fact, the staff and committees have worked tirelessly for more than two years, hoping to make this World Series a successful reality.

"Once that first pitch is thrown, our work will finally be done," Hailey said.

Opening ceremonies for the Dixie Boys World Series takes place August 1. For more information, contact the Newton County Recreation Commission at (770) 786-4373.