The World’s Largest Youth Baseball Tournament is upon us, and soon 554 teams from all across the country will hit the road to Omaha, Nebraska throughout the month of June. The Omaha SlumpBuster enters its 16th year offering four sessions of competition. The excitement begins on June 14th with Session 1.
This event has become a tradition for countless organizations. In 2018, teams will be traveling from more than 40 states including Hawaii, California, Texas and New Jersey.
Sessions 1 and 3 feature our fun, fire-filled Festival Night. Thousands of people descend to enjoy pin trading, vendors, skills challenges and the appearance of our favorite baseball prodigy, Domingo Ayala. The night will end with a bang with the explosive burning of two 10-foot wooden bats.
As if there isn’t enough excitement at the SlumpBuster, the 2018 Men’s College World Series will also be taking place at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, giving Slumpbuster teams the chance to watch some of the best college athletes in the world compete on the big stage.
Mike Stevens, head coach of the Coppell Cowboys 11u, has been with the Cowboys organization for 10 years and has taken his team to the SlumpBuster every single year.
“Our 11u teams go to Omaha every year. It’s the College World Series trip,” Stevens said. “My older son went three years ago and he’s in a tournament that weekend this year, but he had such a great time at SlumpBuster when he was 11 that he’s forgoing his tournament in Dallas to come watch the 11u Cowboys play in Omaha. It’s kind of a rite of passage for 11u; we go to Cooperstown with our 12’s but our parents say Omaha is much more enjoyable.”
As true Omaha veterans, the Cowboys have learned where to stay and what to do in order to get the most out of their time at the Slumpbuster.
“We’ve learned to stay downtown so it’s easy to go to the Saturday night CWS games and let the kids do the fan experience. Then we obviously go to the SlumpBuster Open Ceremonies. We also do the skills competition and watch the burning of the bats. It’s a trip they’ll always remember,” added Stevens.
Among the vets there are also some newbies, including the Massachusetts Hurricanes 14u team that will be attending Session 3 of the Omaha SlumpBuster. The Hurricanes are traveling from Medfield, Massachusetts with their head coach Mark Nickerson.
“A team in our league, I noticed it on their schedule last year on the website and looked into it. I’ve always wanted to be in Omaha during the College World Series. Selfishly it was an opportunity for me to go watch some CWS games and bring my team there to play as well,” said Nickerson.
With teams flying cross country for this event, an opportunity that those teams take advantage of is the option to play two pre-tournament games. This makes the SlumpBuster a hefty 6-game guarantee, opposed to a 4-game guarantee. The two games count against each team’s innings-pitched limit; however, a win or loss does not count for their tournament record.
“We just figured if we’re gonna travel all the way out there, we might as well play as many games as we can,” added Nickerson. “I manage nine teams. This is the first one of any of our teams to go so if it’s a great thing, which I’m expecting it will be, our other teams will go in the next few years.”
Speaking of next year, early interest is at an all-time high for the 2019 Omaha SlumpBuster. It’s not too early to consider securing your spot in the event. Follow the link below for 2019 dates and jump on the Who's Coming List today by contacting event directors Brandon Hardy or Jason McCoy.
“There’s a lot to keep track of in an event this size, but we are excited about the days ahead and fortunate to have so many passionate baseball families and teams motivated to make this trip,” Hardy said. “With our elite division in Session 1 and our pro-player workout with Iowa Western Community College, the event continues to evolve and offer a terrific summer baseball experience.”
By Bradey King