Porterville, CA - Wednesday morning, the Central Section California Interscholastic Foundation voted in favor of moving all six high school baseball Section Championship Games to Visalia's Recreation Ballpark (home of the Visalia Rawhide Minor League ballclub).
Historically, these championship games had been held at the school who received the highest seed. This will be the first time the Central Section CIF has taken their baseball championship games to a neutral, centrally-located venue.
"This will bring great economic impact to the City of Visalia, and we're proud to play host for these games. Recreation Ballpark is a beautiful facility, and this will show it off to the entire region!" said Rawhide General Manager, Jennifer Pendergraft, whose staff will facilitate the logistics of the games and operate the facility. "This is what the ballclub-City partnership is all about. The City, Convention & Visitors Bureau and Visalia Chamber of Commerce have been working hard to make Visalia known as a centrally-located sports capital of California, and this will really put us further on the map."
"We're excited to not only host the players, but their families and fans as well. We're proud to have been selected as their championship location," said Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau Manager, Brittany McMahan. "Visalia has a lot of potential to become the Central Valley's most sought-after sporting event location, and I think we're well on our way to becoming just that. When the CVB was first presented with this opportunity, we knew Visalia had a good chance of securing the event and we're glad Rawhide is able to host."
Visalia can also anticipate the welcoming of over 5,000 attendees, including players, coaches, umpires and spectators for the championships, to be held in May 2014.
This same template has been successful for other high school sports championship games, such as basketball (held at SleepTrain Arena, Sacramento), and many other sections throughout the state.
Founded in 1914, 2014 marks the CIF's 100th anniversary.
Donny Baarns is the Director of Broadcasting for the Visalia Rawhide.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.