Over 20 years ago, a young, slick-fielding shortstop out of a basketball town in Brooklyn, New York tore the cover off the ball at the CABA World Series. The kid's name was Alex Rodriguez and before he became "A-Rod," the NY Bergen Beach baseball prodigy was a two-time participant at one of summer baseball's most distinguished tournaments.
Flash forward to 2013 and the potential for the next A-Rod at the CABA World Series will call Hamilton County, IN home for one week in mid-July. Opening ceremonies for this year's World Series will take place on July 11th at Round Tripper Baseball Academy with an inaugural skills competition kicking off the seven-day tournament.
"The CABA World Series really started with travel baseball and the kids who were really committed to baseball so it's a little bit different brand of baseball than your Little League Baseball," Sue Estep, tournament organizer, said.
"The caliber of teams that you are going to see playing in that 13U Championship game, you've probably got a handful of big leaguers on those teams, that will continue to play, play at the college level and will go on to play professional baseball."
This year's event will have Round Tripper as the main tournament hub, along with other high school fields in Hamilton County holding games. Estep said this is the fifth year Round Tripper has hosted the event, with the 2013 event adding the 8U age division to go along with the 10U and 13U divisions.
"The CABA World Series itself brings about 1.5 million to Hamilton County," Estep said. "The majority of the participants are coming form across the country, as opposed to a local tournament with kids just coming from home. They are staying in hotels, visiting restaurants."
Young kids around central Indiana don't have to look far to see the success that the state has had in producing talent over the past few years. Indiana University became the first Big Ten team in 29 years to make the College World Series and tournaments like the CABA World Series offers the public a chance to see the game's future stars.
"The caliber of baseball in Hamilton County has certainly grown over the years," Estep said. "Teams don't realize that you can play some of the best competition and that's unique."
Volunteers are still needed for the CABA World Series. The event takes place from July 11-18 across Hamilton County.