Columbia County has served as host of a Dixie Youth recreation league World Series four times.
As the fifth quickly approaches, recreation department staff members continue to work diligently to ensure this year's Ponytails World Series at Patriots Park will go as smoothly as possible.
The preparation starts long before the tournament.
"We send them to the World Series the year before to see if there's something we can pick up on or improve on," said Charlie Beale, the recreation department's manager.
This year's World Series will be the first in the county since 1999. The Ponytails softball event, for 11- and 12-year-olds, starts Friday with opening ceremonies. There will be a parade of states, a banquet and a ceremonial team gift exchange.
Play in the double-elimination tournament begins Saturday at 10 a.m., and the event wraps up with the championship Aug. 4.
One of the 11 teams in the tournament is Columbia County's host squad. The other teams are Yazoo City (Miss.), Burgaw (N.C.), McEwen (Tenn.), Montgomery American (Ala.), Spring Hill (Fla.), Sumter (S.C.), Crosby (Texas), Whitfield County National (Ga.), South Hill (Va.) and Savine (La.).
Beale said everything is pretty much in place and ready to go.
"It's just like one of these things that you worry about it and worry about it until the day of," he said. "And you've done it so many times that everything falls into place."
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