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East Selma prepares for baseball celebration

Baseball returns to the East Selma baseball fields on Saturday as part of the East Selma Baseball League alumni reunion.

The reunion begins at 9 a.m., and concludes at 6 p.m. It serves as a starting point for the fall East Selma Baseball League, which kicks off in 2009. Registration forms will be taken at the reunion.

The area’s last organized baseball game was played in 1993, but five games are slated for Saturday, including a 2 p.m. alumni softball game. Other contests include a 7-8 year-old game, 11-12 year-old game and girls’ softball games.

“This is really for the alumni,” said Terry Jackson, president of the East Selma Baseball League. “We want people to come out and invite their kids to play ball where we used to play — the old way.”

The facility has come a long way in a short time. Less than a month ago, the field was hard and filled with rocks. Materials for a press box were present, though no work was done. The dugouts were only frames, and the grass needed mowing.

The field’s condition delayed the fall league’s start, which was slated for July 2009.

“We mostly want safety to come first,” said Michael Johnson, vice president of the East Selma Baseball League. “This time we’re getting more improved than what we had before.”

Now, the dugouts are finished. The fields have been dragged, softening the playing surface. The press box nears completion, and the grass has been cut.

“Every day I come out here, I get happier to see what progress has been done,” said Johnson. “We always wanted this to happen.”

The improvements make Saturday’s games — and the renewed league itself — possible.

“What is basically in mind is to bring the community back together,” said Darryl Brantley, East Selma Baseball League treasurer. “People who played here for the past 30 to 40 years — hopefully they can come back and see what we’re trying to do to get the fields back in shape for the kids.”

The biggest draw for the alumni is the opportunity to tell old war stories again, and relive their playing days vicariously.

“The older guys really wanted to come back and have a good time,” said Jackson. “I’m more excited than when I was a little kid playing out here. I wish I could play this weekend.”