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From the Oxford Mound to Miami Bound

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Written by Joshua Craft

Oxford Dixie Youth Baseball was recently selected to send one of their baseball teams to the 2017 All Star Youth Classic in conjunction with the MLB All-Star Week in Miami. The 11-12 year old team from Oxford will be present that week for many exciting events and to be a part of All-Star Youth Classic Tournament, a round-robin tournament hosted in the backdrop of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week. This year’s Classic will feature more than 140 baseball and softball players and will run from Friday, July 7th to Monday, July 10th. It will be held at Grapeland Park and Fern Isle Park in Miami, only a few minutes away from Marlins Stadium.

In addition to the tournament, participants of the All-Star Youth Classic will have the opportunity to attend MLB All-Star Week events. They will be attending the MLB All-Star Fanfest at the Miami Beach Convention Center, and they will also be special guests of All-Star Sunday events such as the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, Gatorade All-Star Workout, and a few will be selected to go out to the field for Home Run Derby. The 12 players from Oxford – along with players from as far west as California, as far north as Connecticut, as far east as South Carolina, and as far south as Puerto Rico – will be exposed to once-in-a-lifetime experiences that can only be experienced through America’s pastime.

Rusty Gann, coach of the team that will be heading to Miami, is excited for his team and is excited to represent Oxford at the All-Star Classic. “This is an amazing opportunity that has been presented to Oxford Baseball for Youth and I’m honored to be able to be a part of it. I am excited to watch our group of young men compete against teams from around the nation,” Gann said.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I hope that our players and coaches will cherish these times.”

 

Speaking of the excitement surrounding the trip, he stated, “I’m not sure [the players] are completely aware of the magnitude of what is about to happen due to the unknowns of the situation, but I feel that it will sink in quickly once we arrive in Miami. Not only do they get to play games while we’re there, but they also get to attend the Home Run Derby. This is a great opportunity for us to promote and represent our great city and our baseball for youth program. Traveling to Miami, spending time together in dorms, and playing games there are all team building moments that will be a great catalyst for our group of young men leading up to the Dixie Youth World Series that we will play in at Choccolocco Park in early August.” Rusty ends the conversation by saying that this team will be one of a few teams that will have the chance to bond together more than just on the diamond. He says he has great group of players as well as parents, and that he is truly blessed to be a small piece of it all.

Michelle Mayfield, Commissioner of Oxford Baseball for Youth, reiterates what Gann says. “Major League Baseball is paying for the trip and is treating these young men first-class. They’re staying in dorms that professionals stay in and each kid has a police officer that will escort them around the facilities and events. This is the chance of a lifetime for these young men, and I’m so excited to be a small part of the first team from Oxford in history that is going to take part in all this.” Mayfield states that two to three players will be selected from each team to take part in the Home Run Derby based on written essays.

Congratulations to the Oxford baseball team for being chosen to participate in the 10th Annual All-Star Youth Classic and in the 88th Annual Midsummer Classic. As someone who has been able to see a few historic events in person, I’ll leave the team with a little advice: soak it in boys, soak it all in. Good luck to you all, and the residents of our great city are behind you.

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