NBC World Series to return with changes

Mark Schnabel
Jasper Reds left fielder Jared Sermersheim snags a fly ball against the Derby Twins during play in the 85th the NBC World Series at Eck Stadium in Wichita.

The 86th National Baseball Congress will go on, although with a number of changes.

The tournament is scheduled for Aug. 3 through 10, returning to Eck Stadium on the Wichita State University campus for the second straight year.

Games also will be played at Hobart-Detter Field in Hutchinson for the first four days.

The tournament field has been cut to 12 teams with berths going to the champions of the five NBC Premier Leagues playing this season. The rest will be awarded to NBC independent teams or awarded at large. The tournament also will be played in a bracketed double-elimination format.

“To our long-time fans, you will enjoy this one. We are bringing back double-elimination,” NBC World Series Tournament Director Kevin Jenks said. “The suspense and energy of must-win baseball is what makes the NBC World Series what it was for so many years. It will create better baseball for our fans and for our participating teams.”

Jenks cited the fewer number of teams playing this season, as well as players needing to return to college earlier as the reason for shortening the tournament and reducing the field, which stood at 30 the past few years.

Hobart-Detter Field has served as a secondary site for the tournament in the past. It also hosted a number of NBC affiliated teams, including the Hutchinson Broncs, which produced a number of Major League players.

Hobart-Detter is currently the home of the Hutchinson Community College baseball team and the Hutchinson Monarchs of the Sunflower Collegiate League.

“Hutch is salty with NBC tradition,” Jenks said. “From the ‘Million-Dollar Outfield’ of Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds, Pete Incaviglia, along with Hall of Fame pitcher Roger Clemens of the Hutchinson (Broncs), all the way down to the Hutchinson Monarchs, the Hutch community raises NBC baseball and we’re grateful for their support.”

All attending fans will be required to wear face masks, sanitize their hands as they enter and observe social distancing.

All tickets will be sold on line this year at nbcbaseball.com.

“We ask fans to respect each other,” Jenks said. “Respect the game, respect protocols that we believe are need to ensure an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone. If you don’t feel well, stay home.”

The National Baseball Congress Foundation, which has been operating the tournament for the past few seasons, merged with the Greater Wichita Athletic Sports Commission.

The commission currently oversees the Prairie Fire running series, the Wichita Corporate Challenge, the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award and the Greater Wichita Sports Award Banquet.

“We’re very proud and very pleased to have the NBC Foundation under our belt,” GWASC CEO Bob Hanson said. “We worked very hard to bring this event to fruition during these very difficult times.”

The tournament went to Eck Stadium last year during after the demolition of long-time home Lawrence-Dumont Stadium to make way for the recently completed Riverfront Stadium, which will not be used for the tournament. The tournament was played at Lawrence-Dumont from 1935 to 2018.

While NBC officials had hoped to use Riverfront Stadium this season, they were informed the venue was unavailable this year.

“We were told due to health concerns, we would not be able to play there,” Jenks said. “We hope so (to play there in the future). That was the plan. We had an agreement in principal. With the pandemic, they felt it was not in the best interest to hold the event there.”

Jenks said all youth players who attend in uniform will receive free admission at both sites.

86th National Baseball World Series

Aug. 3-10 at Eck Stadium, Wichita

Aug. 3-6 at Hobart-Detter Stadium, Hutchinson

12 teams (5 berths to champions of NBC Premier Leagues, 7 berths awarded to top independent teams or at-large teams)

Double-elimination bracket

Ticket information: www.nbcbasball.com

National Baseball Congress World Series Tournament Director Kevin Jenks addresses a press conference Friday at the Wichita Boathouse.