ALTON - Sandy Sanderson and Eric Curitore, President and Vice President of the National Club Baseball Association, came onto Riverbender.com's 'Our Daily Show!' with a big announcement.
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The two announced that the NCBA Division II World Series would be coming to Alton's Lloyd Hopkins Field, the home of the Alton River Dragons and the long-time home field for the Marquette Explorers.
When choosing where to host these games, Hopkins Field had some huge advantages.
It's a turf field, drastically decreasing the chances of having to delay or cancel a game, that way things can stay on time.
"We knew with the turf field we would get more attention from organizations like this," River Dragons Manager Dallas Martz said.
The field just recently hosted an NCAA Division III Regional.
The field is also in close proximity to a major airport being just a 30-minute drive from the St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Finally, it's centrally located in the United States and is easily accessible from both coasts.
The tournament is estimated to put over $400,000 into the Alton economy with hotels already booked for May of 2023.
The NCBA is a 22-year-old league designed for college-club baseball players. Players who don't play for their NCAA schools. This league gives them an option of continuing to play after high school.
"They do it for the love of the game," Curitore said. "There are no scholarships for club ball, it's all coming out of pocket."
The league originally began with 34 teams all across the U.S. and has since grown to over 300. These teams are more often than not student-run and player-coached.
Sanderson said that this makes for some entertaining baseball while still keeping things family-friendly.
While on the show, Sanderson teased that the NCBA Division I World Series could be making its Alton debut in the future.
If Alton can land the DI tournament, it's expected to bring in over $600,000 economically.
As for Lloyd Hopkins Field, Martz said that this is just the beginning.
"We want to grow that field, and make it nicer each summer," he said. He mentioned a new $100,000 party patio out in right field should be completed in time for the World Series and the River Dragons' home-opener.
"To host something like this is a great opportunity," Martz said.
He believes that traveling players and fans are going to find themselves right at home.
"Once you get to Alton, you can't help but fall in love with it. Alton is a great community that rallies around its sports teams."
"I have no doubt that Alton is going to pull this off."
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