Charlotte, NC – The NJCAA has announced an extended agreement with the Grand Junction Baseball Committee to host the NJCAA DI Baseball World Series in Grand Junction, CO for an additional nine years through 2044. The announcement comes on the 61st anniversary of the start of the first World Series held in Grand Junction – May 21, 1959.
As part of the agreement, the NJCAA and the Grand Junction Baseball Committee will have an expanded partnership that will seek to continue to grow the tournament through collaborative efforts. The 10-team tournament, cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, will move to a seeded tournament for the first time in its history in the 2021 season.
"The NJCAA is pleased to extend our relationship with the city of Grand Junction and the Grand Junction Baseball Committee," stated Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO. "The NJCAA DI World Series has long been a premiere event in college athletics and we look forward to building on its rich history and traditions."
Darren Coltrinari of the Grand Junction Baseball Committee commented on the agreement and the future of the World Series. "The Grand Junction Baseball Committee is extremely proud to extend our partnership with the NJCAA. The City of Grand Junction has become a special place for NJCAA Division I baseball programs and our community is extremely proud of that. For the first time since 1959, Memorial Day weekend will be quiet at Sam Suplizio Field, but it will be louder than ever to welcome back these amazing student-athletes in 2021. In a time that we all wish baseball was able to be played, it is an honor to celebrate the extension of this great tournament."
The NJCAA DI Baseball World Series, held in Grand Junction every year since 1959, has been home to some of the most iconic moments and names in NJCAA history. Sam Suplizio Field has hosted the likes of Kirby Puckett, Curt Schilling, and Bryce Harper. Following the initial World Series in Miami, OK in 1958, the national championship tournament moved to Grand Junction where it has flourished ever since. In 2010, the NJCAA committed to an unprecedented 25-year contract extension that included an $8.3 million renovation project to the stadium.
Duke Wortmann, mayor of Grand Junction, provided his comments on the impact the World Series has throughout the country despite the tournament's cancellation in 2020. "We will miss the real sense that the World Series is Memorial Day Week in Grand Junction. Seeing all ages of Americans coming together to enjoy what junior college baseball is and means to all of us involved and who attend. Collectively to hear the crowd and the individual teams and their fans giving it all they can to win one last time for some. These little moments of time that will stick in all our memories and the memories of the athletes. We are grateful for the partnership with the NJCAA."
Central Arizona captured the most recent national championship in 2019, the program's third title in school history.