Greeneville Ready to Host NJCAA DIII World Series
24 May, 2019
Eight college baseball teams from across the country will be arriving in Greeneville soon for the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III World Series, and when they get to town, a family of local folks will be on call to help each visiting squad with any questions they might have.
The World Series is the ultimate goal for any baseball team, and to have the Junior College event held here for the third straight year gives Greeneville a chance to show off its hospitality, according to Dale Long, who along with Sheila Jeffers will host a team for the third time.
“We are a connection between that team and our community,” Long said. “We are their primary link to help them in any way we can. They have our telephone numbers and the coaches can call us with any questions or if they need some advice on places to eat or visit.”
While having a host family is a service that the visitors seem to enjoy, it’s a rewarding experience for Long. Host families got its start in Greeneville with the Ladies’ Classic, the holiday high school girls’ basketball tournament that has been a success here for over 30 years. Host families have been used for visiting teams in that event for many years.
“We’ve been fortunate to have hosted Tyler Junior College from Texas the past two years, and we’ve made a lot of new friends and met a lot of fans from that school,” Long noted. “They always bring several fans, primarily parents and grandparents of the players. We keep in touch with some of them through Facebook and social media, and it’s a lot of fun for us.”
The College World Series will be held at Tusculum University’s Pioneer Park May 24-30. The eight teams coming won’t be announced until Monday of World Series week, as the teams must survive and advance through their regional tournaments to earn a berth in the “big show.”
“We help them keep their uniforms clean, and we answer questions about where they might go to eat, or we can give them some tips on places to visit if they have some free time,” he said. “But their primary purpose is to play baseball, and coaches want them to focus and be ready for their next game. It’s intense. For these players, it’s what they’ve been shooting for all year … the World Series. And they want to win.”
The tournament begins on Saturday, May 25, but the teams will be arriving before that and the festivities begin on Friday, May 24, with “Kids Day at the Park” from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. where all youngsters are invited to come out for a free hot dog and chips, along with a chance to meet some of the players and watch batting practice. That event is free to everyone.
The World Series Banquet for the participating teams will be held Friday night at Tusculum University.
“We know Greeneville has a lot of baseball fans, and we hope our citizens will show up at Pioneer Park to show their support for this event,” Long said. “There’s plenty of Major League scouts in attendance, plus scouts from four-year schools, as many of these second year junior college players will likely have the opportunity to go on and play at the next level. The Sports Council (of the Greene County Partnership) has worked hard to make this tournament a success, and we are honored to have a chance to host it.”
In addition to Dale Long and Sheila Jeffers, other local families who have signed up to host a team are Ken and Tee Earl, Ron Day, the Greeneville Parks & Recreation Department, Mary Ann Hall and Julie Payne, Darlene Hurley and Jessica Inscore.