By Malcolm Butler
As Thursday night’s opening ceremonies for the 2023 Dixie Youth Baseball World Series came to an end, Louisiana Tech head coach Lane Burroughs stressed the importance of lifetime memories to a jam-packed crowd at JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
Players, coaches, families and friends filled almost every seat at The Love Shack and heard a heartfelt message from the Bulldog skipper.
“This week is about making memories,” said Burroughs. “You don’t realize it now, but you are making memories and friends that will last a lifetime.”
Burroughs would know.
The 50-year-old coach made those same types of memories 36 years ago when he led his Mississippi-based team to the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Burroughs said he is still in constant contact with many of his former little league teammates.
“We are on a group text and we are constantly communicating,” Burroughs told the crowd. “It’s special. Heck we had a team song back then. I won’t tell you what it was because it wasn’t cool. But even today when it comes on the radio, one of us will screen shot it and send it to the group. These are the guys I played little league with 36 years ago.”
Teams from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are slated to compete in the AAA bracket this weekend. Play actually began yesterday morning prior to the opening ceremonies.
Three Louisiana-based teams are competing this week, including one from Springhill and two from Union Parish. Players and coaches from every team were introduced as a group at the start of Thursday night’s ceremony before moving into the stands of the facility to listen to a host of speakers who welcomed everyone to Ruston.
“We love to have all of you athletes here along with your parents and grandparents and friends,” said Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker. “Ruston believes that we are a town where faith, family and friends still mean something. We have everyone experiences our hospitality this week. We feel we have a special community that will welcome you with open arms.”