Southwest Louisiana's growing list of sports events will have another entry — and a big one — as the New Balance Future Stars Series National Championships baseball series will be held in the area over the next four summers.
The event will last four weeks and feature some of the country's top high school age players competing for national titles, as well as participating in workouts for college and professional scouts.
The tournaments will use facilities throughout the area, including Legion Field, McNeese's Joe Miller Baseball Park, McMurry Park in Sulphur and Barbe and Sam Houston high schools. The event was previously held in Houston. Lake Charles was chosen as host over Las Vegas and Nashville.
"You look at the baseball history in the community, you look at the way people treat you, the welcoming atmosphere, the fact that our family that is 90,000 strong across the country that applies to get into this thing will be able to experience that and it was a no-brainer," said Jeremy Booth, CEO and President of the series and Program 15 Baseball, which operates the series.
"We couldn't be more excited to bring the NBFSS National Tournament to Southwest Louisiana and Lake Charles. I've had the privilege of building some great relationships in this area over the years. I signed my first big leaguer in Lake Charles, Josh Prince. From Coach (Glenn) Cecchini and the entire Barbe Program, (head baseball coach) Chad Hebert at Sam Houston High School, and the staff at McNeese State, this community has always treated me like family."
Some of the participants from the National Championship events will be invited to play in the Future Stars Series International Week event that will be held in the fall of 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston pitting the best young players from the United States against a team of the best young players from around the world.
Visit Lake Charles estimates the event will generate more than 10,000 room nights and have an economic impact of more than $7 million, making it the largest sporting event ever held in the area.
That distinction was previously held by the USA Boxing National Championships and Olympic Trials, which will be held in Lake Charles next month.
Teams qualify for the tournament by receiving an invitation to play of qualifying through regional and super regional tournaments. Participants next summer will include players that will graduate from high school in the years 2021-24. Each class will have one day of workouts and five days of competition.
The event will run from June 30-July 26 next summer.