EASLEY — The National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) baseball World Series is moving to Easley beginning 2018, city and association officials announced at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at the J.B. Red Owen Sports Complex.
“We couldn’t be happier to be here, we are looking forward to a great partnership,” said NCCAA director Dan Wood. “We have been well hosted in Ohio … but you have some great people here.”
The NCCAA is comprised of around 100 Christ centered colleges and universities around the country.
“I want to be honest right from the start, the NCAA, the NIA — they’re better at sports than us,” said Wood. “They’ve got the structure, they’ve got the management — they know what they’re doing. But you will be astounded at the playing ability of our teams. We had a dozen or so players recruited by the majors after our last World Series. These kids can play ball.”
Previously, the Series had been played at Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio.
“They (Ohio) have one of the best facilities you can imagine,” said Wood. “They built a state-of-the-art baseball complex: two fields, jumbo-tron, New York Yankees ground crew came and did their sod project … but they had the chance to host the Big East Championship next year so we had to look for one year.”
Wood said that looking for a one year contract “was neither fair to the host city nor to the teams” so a two year contract bidded out.
The contract, which Easley Mayor Larry Bagwell stated he preferred, had just been “a hand shake deal,” will expire at the conclusion of the 2019 series at which point it will go up for bid again.
For his part, Bagwell said that when the series was discussed in conversations with City Administrator Stephen Steese it was hoped the tournament would just be the beginning.
“We hope this gets the ball rolling,” Bagwell said. “Ideally, I’d like to see other events come to us. We’re proud of our city and we’re proud of this venue.”
The NCCAA World Series takes place in late May.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.