The first pitch of the Junior College World Series is less than 24 hours away and to put on the event, it takes a lot more than the love of baseball to make sure the tournament goes off without a hitch.
Ten teams begin the battle this weekend to see who's the best junior college baseball team in the land and while the centerpiece of the event is between the lines, tournament committee members say it takes many elements, especially money, to put on the tournament.
Participating schools have to cover their teams' expenses up front, which can sometimes run into the tens of thousands. However, thanks to a number of organizations, including the JUCO committee, teams are reimbursed for part of their expenditures.
Everything from tickets to t–shirt sales help bring money in for the tournament and while about half the proceeds go back to the National Junior College Athletic Association for the rights to host the tournament, the rest stays to benefit the youth of the Grand Valley.
Along with providing funds for improving the entire Stocker Stadium complex, the non–profit JUCO committee also gives funds back to all four area high schools, Mesa State College and provides money and equipment for Grand Valley little league programs.