Over the years, Jackson Parish has earned a well deserved reputation of fielding tremendously talented and successful teams in Dixie Youth and Little League All-Star competition. The summer of 2023 is no exception.
Despite often drawing from the smallest population base of any of the teams played against in the various age categories, the youth of the Jackson Parish Recreation Department (JPRD) not only held their own in district and state play, they excelled.
A total of 119 boys and girls made up the ten teams that Jackson Parish entered into Dixie Youth and Little League All-Star play. Seven were boys teams (7U, 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, 12U and 13U) with three being girls teams (8U, 10U and 12U).
From the “dandy dozen” that on average made up the teams, amazingly six of the ten squads qualified for state tournament play after three district championships and three runner-up finishes were recorded. Of the six, the 10U girls won the Little League state championship, the 12U boys finished as Dixie Youth state runner-up and both the 13U and 11U boys earned third place finishes. Adding to the success gained was the 8U boys winning an impressive nine straight games in district and state competition and the 13U boys earning the Sportsmanship Award.
Several factors can be attributed to the great success. Of course, when performances like what was shown this summer is achieved, there obviously has to be a lot of talented players in the area. This can be attributed to not only their skills but the support and encouragement their parents give. Were it not for their dedication and effort to make sure their child is at the ball park each day the youth would never be able to have the chance to compete and realize their potential.
Credit also has to be given to the Jackson Parish Recreation Department Board members, Director Tommy Smith, and the administrative staff, for providing local youth with one of the best complexes in the state to perfect their skills on.
Last, but certainly not least, and in reality probably most important to the continued success that Jackson Parish enjoyed in All-Star play this summer are the coaches who volunteer their time.
For weeks before All-Star tournament play begins each spends countless hours helping the boys and girls prepare to play, usually after putting in a full day’s work. Then it really gets tough.
Imagine how tiring it would be to go to work and then driving to places as far away as Alexandria, Many, Monroe and Bossier City, often times getting back home after midnight, only to have to get up early and do it all again day after day.
Sometimes the situation demands that extremely far travel is required. As was the case this summer, several teams ventured to the Lafayette and New Orleans areas for state competition play requiring these wonderful volunteers to take days off from work and spend their own money in travel expenses.
It is not just the ones who coach the All-Star teams that are to be commended but each and every one who volunteered their time to coach the nearly fifty teams that make up the JPRD summer league baseball and softball program. It was their guidance during the summer season that helped prepare the certain ones chosen for All-Star play to enjoy success.
2023 Jackson Parish All-Star Teams
(Photos provided by Ashley Wyatt – Ruffled Feather Photography)