LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Major League Baseball and the NFCA will team up for a free event for local youths on Feb. 9, the day before the Division I Leadoff Classic begins at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater, Fla.
"We are thrilled to partner with MLB on this special initiative, bringing softball to all communities,” NFCA Executive Director Carol Bruggeman said. “MLB provides unique, fun opportunities for young athletes through their PLAY BALL events. The positive connections made between collegiate student-athletes, coaches and eager youth athletes reflects why the sport of softball is thriving. I can think of no better event to kick off the Division I softball season than with our Leadoff Classic, as the passion and enthusiasm surrounding this event will be sky high. MLB has made a huge commitment to growing diamond sports at the grassroots levels. We appreciate their support of the NFCA and the sport of softball."
"To have an opportunity to partner with an organization such as NFCA to provide a free opportunity for the community’s youth is such an exciting way to launch the D1 college softball season," said Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development at Major League Baseball, David James. "For young people to have an unique introduction to the sport through an event like 'PLAY BALL' that gets them excited about the game and helps build upon the broader baseball and softball community is an honor to take part in."
Check-in for the 3:45 p.m. event will begin at 3:15, and is open to participants who are in grades K-6. No prior baseball or softball experience or equipment is necessary. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet student-athletes from the Leadoff Classic teams. All event participants will receive a special co-branded NFCA/MLB PLAY BALL t-shirt, wristband, and bat-and-ball set to take home, plus a treat from Kona Ice.
"The NFCA is an exceptional organization, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work together in building this community of current and future softball players by providing free youth events like 'PLAY BALL,'" said Sarah Padove, Major League Baseball Manager of Baseball & Softball Development. "We are so excited to start the D1 college softball season with the NFCA Leadoff Classic and this event."
Seventy-five student-athletes from the 16 participating teams are scheduled to assist with the event, and will sign autographs afterward.
Click HERE to sign up for the event.
Celebrating 40 years in 2023, the NFCA is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded coaches polls and All-America awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from podcasts to awards, to in-person events and National Convention.