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NCBA tournament concludes today at Hooker Field
Longwood pitcher Boonewell Hagy delivers to the plate Saturday in a game against George Mason during the Division II, District III NCBA Tournament at Hooker Field. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Sunday, May 6, 2012
By CHRIS PRIDE - Bulletin Sports Writer
Recently, in coordination with the Martinsville Henry County Economic Development Corporation, the National Club Baseball Association (NCBA) decided to hold its district and regional tournaments at Hooker Field this weekend and next.
The Division II, District III tourney was held over the past two days and concludes today, while the Division I regional will be held next week. It’s something that MHCEDC Director of Tourism Jennifer Doss said helps out the area economy.
“We advertise our area sports venues in a number of ways, and an advertisement went out to Sports Destination Marketing Magazine, and that’s how the NCBA Division I heard about us,” Doss said. “They were so pleased with the customer service they were getting and the hospitality we were able to provide that they referred us to Division II.
“This is great economic development for our community because they stay in our hotels, they eat at our area restaurants, buy gas, and also visit other attractions like Baseball Heaven where they’ve been practicing. So it’s a big boost for our community and provides quality entertainment for our area residents to enjoy.”
The NCBA is rather new, as it was created in 2000 as a way to give college ballplayers a chance to play the game outside of varsity sanctions. All the teams are funded partially through the college or university, but mainly it’s the players themselves that provide the money to play. It’s college baseball at its purest form, according to District III Conference Coordinator Chris Girardi.
“Hooker Field has had a lot of teams pass through it, and I know this region is very passionate about baseball regardless of what team is playing,” Girardi said. “Martinsville has been great to work with. They’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty to acquire this facility. They’ve been open with communication and when they say they’re going to do something, they deliver on it.”
In its first year associated with Martinsville and Hooker Field, the response has been a welcoming one. The field has a professional feel and the players this weekend have enjoyed playing on it, Doss said.
“We have a perfect venue here for baseball, and we were pleased to bring in an additional sport for spectators to enjoy,” Doss said. “We’ve heard great responses from the players saying that it’s one of the best fields they’ve played on.”
Martinsville Mustangs general manager Dean Hennis said it was an honor for the NCBA to choose Hooker Field over the two weeks to play host to its tournaments.
“These kids are out here to have fun, and that’s what this ballpark was built on,” Hennis said. “These guys are funded mostly by themselves, and it’s good to see baseball played the way it should be played.”
The District III Division II championship will be held at 10 a.m. today with an if necessary game set for 1 p.m. The Division I Mid-Atlantic regional tournament is set for next Friday-Sunday. For more information on the NCBA, visit www.clubbaseball.org