By Doug Gorman
As the umpire's call to play ball is about to be heard in the AABC Roberto Clemente 7-8-year-old World Series, pairings have been set for the first round of the tournament, which starts Thursday at Richard Craig Park in McDonough.
Eight teams will via for the title of World Series Champion, including three squads from Georgia. The McDonough Dawgs will serve as the tournament host.
The Gresham Park White Sox and the Rock Chapel Braves will also represent Georgia. Teams from Puerto Rico, California, Indiana, Oklahoma and New Jersey will also play in the tournament.
Action in the double-elimination tournament begins Thursday night at 5:30 with Puerto Rico squaring off against Vian, Okla. The Rock Chapel Braves play the Sun Valley City Park Bums at 6 p.m.
First-round games continue at 7:30 p.m. with Gresham Park playing the Wallen (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) Devil Rays. The final game in round one is scheduled for 8 p.m. as McDonough takes on Clarkstown, N.J.
There will be plenty of pre-game events leading up to start of the tournament. Teams arrive today and will be welcomed to town by McDonough Mayor Richard Craig with a recption on the town square.
Teams will then attend a get together at the Fun Bowl entertainment complex in McDonough.
As part of the opening ceremonies on Thursday, Mayor Craig will throw out the first ball at 5:30 p.m., and former Atlanta Brave and all-time home run leader Hank Aarron will throw out the first pitch at 6.
Action continues on Friday with second-round games starting at 9:30 p.m.
Eight games are scheuled to begin every 90 minutes, with the final contest set to begin Friday night at 8 p.m.
Round four is set for 10 a.m. and noon.
The fifth and final round is scheduled to begin at 6 on Saturday. A second game is scheduled Saturday night at 8 p.m. The tournament could run into Sunday, if needed.
A film crew from ESPN is scheduled to shoot some action during Saturday's rounds. The footage will be used for a segement to air later in the year on youth sports.