The Baltimore Orioles have booked three youth baseball tournaments in May and June that will attract more than 8,500 athletes, coaches and family members to Sarasota County’s Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex (BOBC).
The Orioles, who manage both facilities year-round, worked with representatives from Prospect Wire and Southwest Florida United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) Baseball to recruit the tournaments to Sarasota County.
“These tournaments are expected to generate thousands of room nights for local accommodations, plus spending at area restaurants and retail establishments,” said Laura Williams, the Orioles’ Director of Florida Operations. “This is the type of economic boost our community will gain as the Orioles work with partners like the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau (SCVB) to market Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex.”
USSSA Youth Travelball baseball players ages 8-16 will take the field at BOBC for two tournaments, the Gulf Coast Championship May 11-13 and the Memorial Day NIT May 25-27. The tournaments will include more than 80 teams from throughout Florida escorted by over 1,000 family members, according to tournament organizer Ron Filipkowski. USSSA is considering additional multi-day events in August, September, November and December at Orioles facilities in Sarasota County.
“There are a lot of travel baseball tournaments in different parts of the state every weekend, so it is important for Sarasota to have something special to offer,” Filipkowski said. “The Baltimore Orioles have provided that for us with Major League quality fields close to I-75, and their professional grounds crews maintain the fields to a very high standard throughout the tournament. It is a key component in USSSA's ability to attract teams to come here.”
Prospect Wire will host its Florida state finals for four age groups of high school baseball players June 9-13 at both Ed Smith Stadium and BOBC. The tournament is designed to showcase the players’ abilities for consideration by college and pro scouts. The event is expected to include a total of 3,500 participants, with an equal number of family members in attendance.
“One of the main reasons we chose Sarasota are the Orioles facilities,” said Matt Bomeisl with Prospect Wire. “This is the largest amateur state championship in summer baseball. With that distinction comes the need for enough fields to host a tournament of this size. Between the Buck O'Neil complex and the Ed Smith complex, Sarasota is a great location. The Orioles have first-class venues that have helped us draw additional teams from out of the area.”
Sporting events are just one potential use of the Orioles’ spring training facilities. The Orioles are collaborating with the SCVB on other potential deals and are making various areas of the facilities available beyond the baseball fields. Numerous venues may be booked at Ed Smith Stadium, including the World Series Suites, Third Base Lounge and Café 54, among others. Parties interested in facilities rentals may contact the Orioles at 941-893-6300 or via email to OriolesinSRQ@orioles.com.
To stay informed about the Orioles’ year-round activities in the Sarasota area, the public may register for a free electronic newsletter, Orioles in Sarasota 365, at www.orioles.com/sarasota.