Some of the top eighth-grade players in Northern California were at Cleve Borman Field in Yountville last weekend to play in games put on by NCTB Baseball, a tournament company that is based in Northern California.
The two-day tournament drew 56 players, including those from Reno, Nevada, Chico, Gilroy and Monterey who traveled to the Veterans Home of California in Yountville. It’s the fifth straight year that NCTB Baseball has been to Borman Field, the home of the Napa Valley Baseball Club.
The eighth-grade age-group is known as The League, according to NCTB Baseball. Players try out for The League during the winter and are selected to teams through a draft. They play over five weekends throughout the spring.
There were four teams from The League that spent the weekend at Borman Field.
“The League is for the top eighth-graders in Northern California,” said Adam Farb, the president of NCTB Baseball and an assistant baseball coach at Sir Francis Drake High School-San Anselmo. “We always try to do one of the weekends here. It’s just such a special place.
“The spirit of the history of the game is so alive here at Borman. It’s just an incredible venue. I think it’s important for younger players to connect with history of their game. We go to a lot of places, but I think it’s my favorite venue that I’ve ever been to. It’s thanks to the Napa Valley Baseball Club, to be able to share it with so many kids over the last few years as well.
“We’re just appreciative of being up here.”
The Borman Field concession stand provided the players with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sharon Leachman is in charge of the concession area at Borman Field.
“The kids have a really memorable experience of playing at Borman Field, staying overnight at our onsite (American) Legion barracks,” said Matt Leachman, president of the Napa Valley Baseball Club, which has four age-group teams and is affiliated with American Legion Baseball.
“Every year families come up and say this is their favorite place to play. This weekend we had perfect baseball weather.”
The Commodores team won the title on Sunday, beating the Ducks in the championship game, 7-5.
The players stayed overnight in the barracks at the Veterans Home, located near the ballpark.
Jared Horn, Jake MacNichols, Jake Rasmusen, Jason Brandow, Max Phipps, Eli Wood and Davide Migotto – who have been with the Napa Valley Baseball Club over the years – have all played with NCTB Baseball.
Several former players from The League, including Brandow and Phipps, were on hand on Saturday to talk with the current players.
“They talked with the kids and shared what they have learned between when they were eighth graders like these guys are, to where they are at now as high school seniors or college freshmen,” said Farb, who is a former head coach at Drake.
NCTB began in 2004 and is the regional director for the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series for the Northern California, Southern California and Northwest regions.
“It’s a chance to play at the highest level competition,” said Farb. “I think we have a sense of fun and long-term purpose about it, having done it a little bit. It’s more about what experience they have and how that helps them elevate their own game in their own life.
“It’s a pretty elite group of players, a highly skilled group of players. They are in an environment that is encouraging them to make the most of what they have.”