The legend of Okeeheelee

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By Claude Lewis

The name Okeeheelee has a ring like some of those other small, rural towns in Florida.

Like Okeechobee, or Yeehaw Junction, Immokalee, or Homosassa.

But Okeeheelee is not a town by itself. Actually, it's a part of West Palm Beach -Okeeheelee Park.

Each year, the Okeeheelee Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth Baseball organization sends a team or two to Chiefland for the State Tee Ball Tournament.

Even though Okeeheelee didn't win it this year, looking back over the list of tourney winners, the little O has flat-out dominated through the years.

They're like the New York Yankees of the 1920s. The Murderer's Row ...of Tee Ball.

"We're in the heart of West Palm Beach," said Okeeheelee manager Joe Ball. "We have a lot of talent in our league. We draw from a decent area. We have about 10 teams with about 140 kids in the (Tee Ball) league."

Which is a heckuva lot bigger than most of the 22 organizations represented at this year's State Tee Ball event, which wrapped up Sunday at Strickland Park.

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