Toledo to host NABF College World SeriesWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
On Aug. 4-7, the oldest continually operated national baseball organization in the United States will host its College World Series in Toledo. This will be the seventh time in the past eight years Toledo has hosted the event.
Founded in 1914 in Louisville, Ky., the National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF) is a nonprofit organization that hosts more than 50 regional tournaments and eight national championship tournaments across the country each year, comprised of eight divisions that rely on numerous volunteer officers and directors throughout the United States to keep the organization running.
“It’s tough out there to find people willing to do these,” said NABF Executive Director and Franchise Membership Chairman Charles Blackburn said. “We’re proud of all them that contribute their time, effort and resources to the game.”
One of those volunteers is Toledo native Aaron Myers. A 1993 Waite High School graduate who serves as the head varsity baseball coach at Otsego, Myers is the co-director of this year’s tournament along with Shawn Sobel, and is in his first year as the NABF College Division Director, taking over for longtime director Pat Eaken.
“It’s quite a thing to have here in Toledo,” Myers said. “And for Toledo to be named a host city for the last four or five years, I think that says something that we’re doing something right.”
Myers said he became involved with the NABF about four years ago when he was hired by the City of Toledo as the Athletic Activities Coordinator for the city’s Division of Recreation, which organizes the tournament. The NABF honored Myers with its Award of Merit in 2009 for his efforts.
“It was a great honor for me to be recognized, but it was more or less the recreation department being recognized for all of our hard work in bringing the NABF College World Series to Toledo seven out of the last eight years,” Myers said. “It’s just a tribute to people who work hard and enjoy what they do and the NABF obviously acknowledged it, seeing that that was something that they would like to honor.
“Like I said, it was a humbling experience for me to go and accept the award, and it’s a great honor to continue to work with the NABF and with the people that I do work with.”
This year’s tournament will feature a total of 16 teams from Ohio, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Illinois competing in the 22-and-younger tournament, which harkens back to baseball’s roots with the use of wooden bats only. With rosters comprised mostly of former Northwest Ohio high school baseball standouts now competing at the college level, Toledo’s Black Hawks and Gold Hawks will participate.
“The experience has been great,” fourth-year Gold Hawks coach Ed Mouch said. “You get to see we’ve got a lot of very good, talented college baseball players from around the country, then be able to get to compete against them with a group of kids primarily made up of local high school talent from around our area, so it’s been great for us.”
A 1981 St. John’s Jesuit graduate who coaches varsity baseball at Southview, Mouch has led the Gold Hawks to two NABF College World Series championships in the past three years.
“I’ve always said as far as being a high school coach that I’ve thought there’s been as good of talent in Northwest Ohio as there has been when you talk about the state of Ohio,” Mouch said. “Just putting together a nucleus of kids like this just says a whole lot about the kind of baseball that we do play up in Northwest Ohio at the high school level.”
Myers estimates the economic impact of the NABF College World Series to be between $500,000 and $1 million for the city, adding that there will be between seven and 10 volunteers at each of the four tournament sites. In the future, he wants to expand the field to 20 teams and include more leagues.
“Big picture, I would love to see the NABF get involved with leagues like Cape Cod, and some big, East Coast leagues and some Southern leagues that we can bring into the NABF organization and get some more recognition that way,” Myers said.
Sites for this year’s NABF College World Series will be Rich Arbinger Field at Bowman Park, St. Francis de Sales High School, Owens Community College and Ned Skeldon Stadium, with the championship game at Fifth Third Field.
On Aug. 4 and 5, pool play contests will take place at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. at all four sites. The quarterfinals are on Aug. 6 at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at Rich Arbinger Field and Ned Skeldon Stadium with the semifinals later that day at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Ned Skeldon Stadium. The championship game will be at 1 p.m. Aug. 7 at Fifth Third Field. Daily tickets are $5 each, and a tournament pass is available for a total of $15.