Story by Karen Kissiah
Photos by Amanda Pegues
Baseball, for some, embodies everything American.
Historians have argued over the origins of the sport, exemplifying the American right to free speech. American movie makers have turned cornfields into baseball diamonds and created a culture that often uses the phrase, “If you build it, they will come.”
Politicians and presidents have thrown the first pitch for professional leagues for more than a century now, but for the young athletes of the Dixie Youth Baseball League all that matters are the words “Play ball!”
All over Chesterfield County, and perhaps most of the country this past weekend, young athletes celebrated the beginning of baseball season. Opening Day ceremonies were held Saturday at Arrowhead Park in Cheraw and in Chesterfield at the field behind the old Edward’s Elementary School.
Jimmy Weatherford, athletic director for Chesterfield High School, threw the first pitch Saturday for the event in Chesterfield, which brought in players from the western end of the county including the Jefferson and Pageland communities.
Cheraw Mayor Andy Ingram, along with town council members and representatives of the Recreation Commission, were on hand at Arrowhead Park on Saturday. They presented the Jimmy Duffy Volunteer Award this year to Scott Hunter, Cheraw’s former mayor.
No matter when or where baseball started — in 1672 as a version of stoolball or in 1700 with Thomas Wilson — the all American sport is alive and well in Chesterfield County. In the Cheraw leagues alone, more than 300 players were introduced Saturday at Arrowhead.
Youth baseball leagues work with children from ages 5 to 12 and the games will continue through the middle of June.
For more information, contact the Cheraw Parks and Recreation Department at 843-537-8420.