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WICHITA, Kansas — The National Baseball Congress announced it was making changes to the tournament almost two months ago and they’re hoping their hard work will pay off with the start of the tournament.
After seeing a drop in the number of out of state teams participating in the tournament, the National Baseball Congress divided the tournament this year into a two week 16-double elimination format.
Organizers hope the move will convince out of state teams to play in the tournament.
“Part of it is making sure our teams are happy,” said Kevin Jenks, Operations Manager for the National Baseball Congress. “We went out and developed some good hotel partners and some meal partners to help them with their expenses and relay that information for them as early as we could.”
Teams as far away as Alaska still opted out of the tournament this year because of travel cost, but for the San Diego Waves the two day drive to Wichita is worth the 1,400 miles.
“Good experience for them [players] there are a lot of coaches out here looking,” said Mike Studer, General Manager of San Diego Waves. “Players that are looking for a place to play– there’s a lot of pro scouts here and it’s a chance for them to get noticed out here in the mid-west and scouts notice them as well.”
“I come down it’s great entertainment. It’s awfully good baseball,” said Jake Campbell, fan. “You know people are missing the boat by not coming down to see these young kids– they’re trying to make a name for themselves.”
Jake Campbell has been supporting the tournament since the 90s.
He hopes that by changing the format and increasing marketing efforts like adding more signs and posters around the stadium that it will help to draw in more teams and fans to Lawrence Dumont Stadium.
“I hope it’s for the best as I said it’s a great great tournament and it’s great for Wichita,” said Campbell. “You know more people should support it they really should.”
A firework show is scheduled for tomorrow night at the stadium.
Click here for more information on where you can purchase tickets.