Travel Baseball has most definitely and continues to change the youth baseball landscape. It's here, and it doesn't appear to be going away any time soon. The Southeast (the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida etc), Texas and California have led the way in being "all in" the travel ball world. However, one part of California, the central valley, has not to date jumped "all in".
Don't get us wrong, there is definitely a travel baseball presence in the Valley but local leagues still appear to take top priority for many in the Valley. Is this changing....We don't intend to answer that question here but Central California Travel Baseball - CCTB intends to follow it closely.
Just this Spring/Summer/Fall, the Valley has seen more and more baseball academies spring up; many of which have very knowledgeable instructors and coaches. And why not, the Valley is loaded with former high level players and great coaches.
The Valley has seen more and more quality tournaments. Some of the big dogs in travel baseball (USSSA, XDS and NCTB) have begun to run tournaments bringing in teams from Northern & Southern California. It is no longer necessary to travel out of the area to play in these type of tournaments. If teams chose to stay local they have a lot of great choices.
CCTB's goal is to make this a one-stop shop for following local travel teams, giving updates on local tournaments with predictions & summaries, and player profiles. We will also be publishing a quarterly power rankings by age division for all central California teams.
On the horizon, there are 5 big tournaments that will go a long way in determining these rankings and seeing who's got it for 2019:
USSSA's Central Valley Shootout on November 3rd & 4th at Granite Park, Fresno which features a great 12u & 13u bracket with teams from the Bay Area, Modesto, and Bakersfield. Play Hard 12u is currently ranked 4th in the State in the majors division.
PG's Best of the Best on November 10th & 11th at Granite Park, Fresno. This event is being put on by NCTB and will feature not only some of the best teams in California but some of the best in the nation. We'll make sure to let you all know how the valley teams stack up!
Xtreme Diamond Sports (XDS) & King of Kings Baseball are hosting the Veteran's Day Bash in Hanford on Nov 10/11 weekend. The who's coming list has some of the best teams in the valley competing.
USSSA's Battle for the State is being held at Granite park on Nov 17/18 with several central coast teams already on the list.
Sliders Winter Showdown in Bakersfield on Dec 1/2 weekend. This is the 7th year this event has taken place on this weekend and it's always a very competitive tournament with several SoCal teams making the trek into the Valley.
Look for our first Power Rankings shortly after the completion of these fall tournaments before most teams go into hibernation for the Holidays....