AUSTIN, Texas – Just over 1,000 miles of interstate highway separate the cities of Austin and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but Perfect Game will join them at the hip with a pair of important WWBA World Championship qualifying tournaments this weekend.
The 10th annual WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship will be played in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area Friday through Monday at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Duane Banks Field at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Kirkwood Community College and nine high school and other local fields.
Monday’s semifinals and championship game will be played at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium, which is the summertime home of the Class A Midwest League Cedar Rapids Kernels.
The 4th annual WWBA South Qualifier is scheduled to be played on 11 fields in Austin and nearby Round Rock. Nine high school fields will be utilized, as will the field at Concordia University in Austin. Monday’s semifinals and championship game will be played at historic Disch-Falk Field at the University of Texas in Austin.
The champion of each of these tournaments receives a paid invitation to the prestigious Perfect Game WWBA World Championship Oct. 20-24 in Jupiter, Fla.
Thirty-six teams from seven states will be in the field for the tradition-rich WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship. The defending champion Farrah Builders out of New Jersey isn’t among them.
Hundreds of top prospects have played in front of hundreds of scouts and college coaches over the event’s nine-year run. Seven Kernels Foundation alumni have made it to the big leagues, including first round picks Lance Lynn, Drew Storen and Mike Bowden, all of whom played in the 2004 event.
Another notable alum of the 2004 tournament is Jeremy Hellickson, a key cog in the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Rays’ starting rotation and a contender for the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Twenty prospects who participated in the 2010 event were selected in June’s 2011 draft.
The WWBA South Qualifier doesn’t have the long history the Kernels Foundation Championship enjoys, but has already showcased some the top prospects, mostly from the state of Texas. The Dallas Patriots won the 2010 WWBA South Qualifier behind the play of 2011 first round pick Trevor Story and second-rounder Josh Bell.
Thirty-eight teams – 36 from Texas and one each from Oklahoma and Louisiana – comprise this year’s South Qualifier field.