DUBLIN — The West Bladen Knights have more than hitting, pitching and fielding on their minds in preparation for their third straight trip to the Dixie Pre-Majors World Series in Alabama.
The 495-mile trip, one way, has a $10,000 price tag attached to it, and the team is now involved in a fundraising campaign that has only a one-week window. The team will depart for Guntersville, Ala., on Thursday, July 23.
“We had a little more time the past two years, but this time it’s only about a week,” said Jenel Strickland-Cain, who is coordinating the fundraising efforts for the team. “We’ll go about it the same as we have in the past, and we hope the community will, support us once again.”
First up will be a raffle ticket sale at Melvin’s in downtown Elizabethtown on Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $2 each and carry the chance to win $200. Stickland-Cain said there are 2,800 tickets to sell.
“We sold out last year,” she said. “I think we raised about $4,000 (with the raffle sales).”
She added that additional raffle ticket sale sites will be announced soon and tickets are also available from coaches and players.
The players are expected to hold car washes on Saturday — at Advanced Auto Parts on West Broad Street in Elizabethtown and at Hester Tire in Bladenboro — from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monetary donations are also being taken for the team’s trip. Cash can be given to any of the coaches and checks made payable to Dixie Pre-Majors Baseball should be mailed to: Attn. Jenel Strickland-Cain, P.O. Box 274, Bladenboro, N.C. 28320. All donations should be received by Wednesday.
Donations are also being accepted at the Bladen Journal office in downtown Elizabethtown between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.
“The money we collect will go toward the gas, food, lodging, supplies like water, van rental and new uniforms,” Strickland-Cain said. “Dixie Youth Baseball pays for five rooms for players, but we will need additional rooms for players and coaches.”
The team’s new uniforms, which will carry the North Carolina name across the front of the jersey, will feature a red jersey with blue lettering and white pants.
“We wanted to keep the red, white and blue colors we’ve had the past two years,” Strickland-Cain said.
Anyone needing information about donating can call Strickland-Cain at 910-876-0541.
— W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.