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Fillingham on Friday at WTLS during the "Wake-Up Call"

Fillingham continues DYB connection

By Michael Butler

Jack Fillingham was Tallassee Dixie Youth Baseball commissioner in 1987. His daughter was a player then.

"Susanna got me started," he said. "She started playing when she was seven and went all the way through Dixie Youth. They didn't have a softball program."

1987 was a landmark year for Dixie Youth Baseball in Tallassee. The team won the DYB World Series.

"I got broken in real quick," Fillingham said. "We figured up that we took in $30,000 to get down to the World Series."

It's been 33 years since the championship run in '87 and Fillingham is still involved with Dixie Youth Baseball. He now serves as Alabama DYB's National Director.

"I just couldn't get away from it I guess. I enjoyed the people I've worked with on the state level."

In 1996, Fillingham became the assistant district director. The next year he was district director.

"I tried to retire three years ago from district director. My assistant director was going to come on board. He called me and said he'd gotten a job offer in Florida. Last year I served as assistant state director."

Fillingham (left) in 2017 with Tallassee coach Klay Peters presenting Jack Butler the game ball for his perfect game vs. Decatur National at the 10U rookie state tournament in Tuscaloosa

This year has been completely different than anything Fillingham has experienced before. The World Series was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. State post-season tournaments followed suit.

"You have people traveling in from 11 states. That's why they canceled the World Series. We decided we were going to have a reguar season."

State tournaments with shifting dates back presented scheduling conflicts for several host sites. There was also a participation issue with a number of leagues.

"The district directors contacted their leagues. Some of the leagues don't have enough to get one team together. The cities that have ball fields have liabilities."

Fillingham did not rule out the possibility of some type of tournament or tournaments being held with districts that can participate. Tallassee plays in District 5.

"District 5 had five teams that were committed to play. District 10 had three or four teams. One team in Clanton is still thinking about tournament ball. We may be able to put a tournament together with some of these districts."