This time of year all the hallmarks of America’s favorite pastime are in Lewiston — immaculate green fields, bleachers, and hot dogs.Young men of the best small college and university teams from around the country are here for the NAIA Baseball World Series. In their wake will come the roaring crowds and children lurking outside the lines watching the skies for foul balls. When caught, they will bring them to the players who are more than willing to provide autographs. And who knows? That ball might be worth something some day.
The series is the place to go to see near-professional baseball in a small town setting before the players hit the big time. The competition started in 1957 and is a 10-team, double-elimination tournament. This will be Lewiston’s 21st time as host for the event.
Over the last week uniformed players have flooded area schools with Lewis-Clark Warrior baseball cards. It’s one of the ways the tournament is entwined with the community and its youth.
Another way is a free clinic for kids ages 5-12 at 3:45 p.m. today at Harris Field. Children will visit different stations manned by the teams and get a free T-shirt, hot dog and ticket to any series game. At the end they’ll have their picture taken. Admission is first come, first served.
An average of 1,995 people attend each game in the series which starts Friday when many area elementary school students will attend morning and noon games with their classes. The Spokane Indians’ mascot Otto will be signing autographs. Opening ceremonies start at 6:30 p.m.
On Monday, All American Day, $5 tickets are available at the Lewiston Rosauers. Popcorn, hotdogs and pop are $1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Next week crowds will be treated to free giveaways: rally towels on Tuesday, the Wednesday souvenir ball toss and souvenir bats on Thursday.
Admission to games starts at $10 per night but a variety of tournament passes are available. A three-day pass for families (two adults and three youths) starts at $56.25. A family pass for the entire tournament is $136.13.
“It’s pretty reasonable to bring your family to a game on a pass,” says Brooke Cushman, assistant athletic director at LCSC. “This event has been in the valley a long time and it means a lot that the community supports it and we’d like to help any way we can to keep it reasonable for people to attend.”
In conjunction with the series, kids ages 17 and under can get a free ride to the series from Lewiston Transit and Asotin County PTBA. Monday through August, kids can ride the bus for free on the Kids Freedom Pass. Buses run throughout the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley and Asotin. Hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. No ticket is needed. All a kid has to do, is go to the nearest bus stop or flag a bus down at a safe location. More information is available by calling (208) 298-1340 or (509) 758-3567.
What: 56th Annual AVISTA NAIA Baseball World Series
When: Friday – June 1
Where: Harris Field, Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston
Tickets: Tournament passes range in price. A three-day passes for families (two adults and three youths) starts at $56.25. A family pass for the entire tournament is $136.13. A single general admission tournament pass is $45.60. General admission for one day for one person is $10.