DIXIE LEAGUE – The 2017 Dixie League season began with just 4 returning teams from last season, Sanford, New Orleans, Westfield and Andalusia, and all were also playoff teams. As the season progressed we could see that the returning teams were not as strong as last year, with the exception of Andalusia, the Alabama Archers seemed to start a little slow,but in recent weeks have picked up the pace. But this week, the ‘Feds have arrived. With a league record, 24 points and a doubleheader sweep of Eastern League rival Orlando Crush 24-8 and a rematch of last years Dixie League Championship Game against the New Orleans Black Hats 24-5, the 2016 defending Dixie League Champion Sanford Celeryfeds are back in the mix. The success of the Celeryfeds this week was on the arm of QB Alex Smith who had 6 pointsand 3 homeruns along with RB Zeke Elliott who also had 6 and 3, plus a defense that scored 4 points. The 24 runs breaks the Celeryfeds’ own league record of 23 runs, set in Week 16 of last season as the ‘Feds captured the 2016 Dixie Cup Championship.
The wins this week have the ‘Feds in 3rd place in the Eastern League, 2 games behind leaders Hinesville Warrior and 1 1/2 games back of newcomers Lakeland Raiders. The Orlando Crush, who at one point in the season had a grip on the top spot with Hinesville has hit on hard times recently and has fallen 3.5 games behind Hinesville, but just a 1/2 game behind the Westfield Bombers who was 1-0-1 in last weekend’s action. The Lakeland Raiders have really hit a stride as of late, coming off a weekend sweep of the leaders of Week 6 in the Western League, beating the AF#16 Kokomo Kings 16-8, and then in Game 2, taking down the AF#30 team and father of the brother duo the Andalusia Arrows 16-12, the Raiders’ 16 runs were the 2nd best in the league this week .
After play in the Dixie League in Week 7, the Standings Board has begun to settle down a bit, with the being the tightest of the races. Andalusia, after a 1-1-0 weekend, has moved 1/2 game ahead of Kokomo and a full game over the San Angelo Wolverines, with Austin just a half game behind the Texas squad. After being sweep again this weekend the New Orleans Black Hats have fallen 6 games back and are in jeopardy of being eliminated from playoff contention with only 4 weeks left before the playoffs begin. Games in Week 8 could determine playoff spots and could also show some teams the door as we get closer to the Eastern and Western League Championship Series.
Week 8 could also be a turning point in both divisions. Will Hinesville hold off the hard charging Lakeland Raiders who will take on Sanford and then his older brother in Orlando? Can Andalusia take a firm hold on the Western League with games against Westfield and Western League rival, AF #16 Kokomo Kings, or will San Angelo slip by both with games against western rivals New Orleans Black Hats and the Austin Bulls? Pay close attention, week 8 may be the week….