Small College Baseball and Softball World Series returns to DuBois May 12-16
No doubt about it, baseball is huge in these PA Wilds, and you don’t have to look hard to find it.
Williamsport has been hosting the Little League World Series since 1947, with teams from all over the world competing in the popular late-summer youth classic.
Then there is professional baseball. Williamsport is home to the Philadelphia Phillies’ minor-league Class A, short-season affiliate Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League.
Now gaining national attention is the city of DuBois, which steps up to the plate and smacks yet another grand slam for the city and the local economy in landing the Small College Baseball and Softball World Series for the second consecutive year.
Just like last year, players and their families from all across the United States will travel to Dubois, situated in the I-80 Frontier of the PA Wilds, May 12 through 16 for the USCAA’s Small College Baseball classic.
Penn State DuBois baseball fans are hoping the home team can repeat as national champions, having won last year’s baseball world series on their home turf.
Understandably, community pride is strong, not only for the local champs but for the spotlight cast upon the city and the entire region.
“Last year’s world series was great for our entire community,” said Josiah Jones, executive director of Visit Clearfield County and director of the Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority, the presenting sponsor of the World Series. “Our hotels and motels were full and had record numbers for the month of May, and our community experienced the true value of having these fields because they were overwhelmed with visitors at their establishments. We experienced the results of how these fields can help our community, city and county economically.”
There will be nearly 500 players representing 20 teams in town, which means a lot of out-of-town and out-of-county traffic – and a nice economic boost for the area. “Last year’s total economic impact totaled nearly $445,000 from visitors, team members, fans and families,” said Jones. “More than 1,500 rooms were booked in the area, many in DuBois and some in Clearfield.”
He said most of the visitors stayed an average of two and a half days and were more than happy they made the trip. “As I was walking around the field during the games last year, I took some time to ask the visitors if they were enjoying their experience and I had an overwhelmingly positive response,” explained Jones. “They enjoyed the hospitality at our hotels and motels, and they enjoyed how easy it was to navigate through DuBois.”
Showers Field in the last few years has been transformed into a first-class baseball facility. It was an immediate hit with officials from the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) who were elated to see such a high-caliber baseball facility in selecting DuBois to host the World Series – and they weren’t the only ones.
“The parents of the baseball and softball players thought these fields in DuBois were the most beautiful fields they have ever seen,” said Jones. “The baseball and softball fields set us apart because they are entirely made of turf, which allows for a perfect draining system when we get a rain spell. The games are only delayed during the storm, and they are back on the field in no time.”
He said this field feature keeps the tournaments moving without much delay, and it is especially convenient for visitors because there is no need to reschedule or add another day to the tournament.
The Small College Softball World Series will be played at nearby Heindl Field, the premiere amateur softball facility in North Central Pennsylvania. A beautiful softball park named for Ridgway’s Dennis Heindl and dedicated to his late wife, Rose, the Heindls have donated more than $250,000 to build the field and have pledged to contribute $10,000 a year to maintain it.
One of the city’s “movers and shakers” who has helped in bringing the Small College World Series to DuBois is John “Herm” Suplizio, DuBois City Manager. “Landing this series means the world to me,” said Suplizio. “Bringing these college teams to our community gives us the chance to showcase our area and what we are all about, the hospitality of the DuBois area. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Suplizio said DuBois’ community pride impressed USCAA officials, the visiting teams and their families. “Last year we surprised them with the hospitality we showed, and our people were also pleasantly surprised by the huge impact it had on our economy, the hotels, the restaurants,and the shops, and I even heard that pizza deliveries were higher than that of Super Bowl weekend.”
DuBois is aiming at a ‘threepeat’ for 2020, said Suplizio. “We are working with them (USCAA) to sign an extension to host the small college well into the future.”
Back at the Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority, Director Josiah Jones said after a successful first year of hosting the small college world series, he’s hoping the interest grows.
“I don’t see a drop-off, and I know that the City of DuBois will do what they have to do to keep the USCAA coming back year after year,” he said. “We are very excited to have this event here in Clearfield County again this year.”
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