Our Hottest Week of 2018 National Baseball and Softball Tourneys

Today marks the start of three important national championships in play with our partners throughout our HiCast Sports Network this week. We're proud to be covering these important games so teams' family members and friends back home can share in the excitement, and players and coaches can replay and share their Moments That Matter™ after they leave the playing field. Competing in a national championship creates memories these young players and their families will cherish for a lifetime.

July 22 - July 29 – USA Softball Girls Fast Pitch Class A 12U National Championship at Tyger River Park in Spartanburg, SC where 41 of the best girls fast pitch 12U teams from across America will compete for the national title!

July 23 - July 29 – National Youth Baseball Championship Week at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY where 1,025 10U-14U teams from 26 states competed in qualifier tourneys all spring and summer long to earn the top 70 spots in this year's national matchup. Select games will be televised on CBS Sports, but we've got 'em al covered live and on-demand in our HiCast Sports Network.

July 24 - 28 – Triple Crown US Club Nationals at East Cobb Baseball Complex in Marietta, GA where 1,000 athletes from 13 premier baseball organizations from around the country will compete for the crown! Select games will be televised on ESPN3, but we'll have 'em all live and on-demand in our HiCast Sports Network.

We'll be sharing highlights and tagging teams from these tourneys in our HiCast Feed and in our social media feeds, so give us a follow in Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to follow along in the excitement.

HiCast Sports Network to Cover the National Youth Baseball Championships at Baseball Heaven

The 10th Annual National Youth Baseball Championships (NYBC) kicks off its Championship Week starting today, July 22 at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY (Long Island) for a major league tournament experience, and ending with championship games for each age division on Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30. 

In its 10th year, the NYBC is bringing together the best of the best youth travel baseball players from 9U-14U age divisions representing 70 teams from 14 states across America. Each team had to earn a bid to compete in this final week of championship games by way of NYBC Qualifiers that occurred March - July throughout the US. 

Nathan Clinkenbeard, Communications Manager for Steel Sports, shares, “It all comes down to providing the ultimate tournament for these players and families to experience… beyond the games, we’re providing opening ceremonies, skills competitions, a home run derby and Friday is our big festival day. We understand the time and financial commitment these families make to come to New York for a week and we just want to give back, and celebrate these young athletes and families for all the hard work they put it all season long.”

NYBC was founded in 2008 by former Chicago White Sox vice chairman and minority owner former Eddie Einhorn. His vision was to give youth travel baseball athletes a platform to showcase their skills. Steel Sports expanded the NYBC to include more age groups. “We want to give these players that unique opportunity to play for a national audience. While we get a lot of hype around our 12 games to be televised by CBS Sports, the great news is that ALL of our games at Baseball Heaven will be covered by HiCast Sports Network,” said Clinkenbeard.

How does NYBC feel about HiCast Sports Network putting game highlights in the hands of players and fans at Baseball Heaven? Clinkenbeard answers, “These kids love being able to see their highlights and we love sharing them too in our NYBC social media. Getting exposure for a great hit or a big play is everything to them. These are the future stars. You’ll see many of these players in Major League Baseball one day.”

Catch the entire tournament live or on-demand July 25 - 30 on the HiCast Sports Network. Start your free trial here: http://www.hicastsports.com/baseballheaven

Covering the Leap of Faith at Baseball Heaven

Salvatore Catanzaro of Woodridge, NJ started playing baseball at age four at the local YMCA in Garfield, NJ. While most kids his age were focused on learning to hit the ball off a tee, Salvatore’s dad Sal was pitching balls to him from the get-go in the backyard or at the local park. “As soon as he was able to stand up and walk, he had a bat in his hand,” shared Sal Catanzaro.

By age six, his early skill in the recreational league caught the eye of a Legit Baseball Club coach. They sought him out to join their competitive team of top players throughout Bergen County – a team of eight and nine year-olds. “He was pitching, and he held his own despite the age difference,” said Sal. Salvatore’s been playing for the Legit Baseball Club travel team ever since, competing in tournaments not only in the northeast, but up and down the east coast. Salvatore will often play 5-6 games most weekends throughout the spring and summer months. “It’s a lot of commitment and sometimes it’s tough, but it’s fun,” shares Sal. 

While many young athletes playing travel baseball tend to focus intensively on the sport year-round to stay competitive, Salvatore builds his confidence and skills with a focus on speed and agility – training four days each week, while playing other sports year round.

But something special happened on a baseball field at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY on Saturday, June 10. Salvatore’s team, Legit Baseball Club 10U, was playing in one of several National Youth Baseball Championship Qualifier games that weekend. It was the third inning of the game, and Salvatore’s team had the lead but the score was close. Salvatore had just stolen third base. His coach at third told Salvatore that if the catcher drops the ball and it goes behind him, “You’re stealing on the pitch.” 

And it happened. Salvatore shared, “I was ready to run, but then I hesitated to go back to the base. And then I was like, ‘you know what, I’m just gonna go.’ I was going and when the catcher got the ball I thought ‘oh no, why am I doing this?’ and I had to think of something fast. I’m too small to run over the catcher, but I knew I could jump over him, so I did.” And after the umpire called “Safe!”… Salvatore shared, “I felt amazing.”

But his dad wasn’t there to see it. “I couldn’t make it to the game because I had to work,” shared Sal. He works for the Post Office so he’s never able to make his son’s games on Saturdays. Shortly after Salvatore scored, a dad of a teammate sent a text message to Sal telling him that his son just jumped over the catcher to score. Sal confessed that he didn’t think much about it, even after Salvatore came home after the game and told him about it. “I just thought, he does crazy stuff like this all the time.”

The next morning, another teammate’s dad used the HiCast Sports mobile app to replay that highlight from the game on-demand. The HiCast Sports Network covers games live and on-demand in partnership with Baseball Heaven and other top ballparks nationwide. The user saved the video highlight from the game, and shared it with Sal via text message so he could watch it.

Sal said, “I didn’t think anyone had video of it. It was just so clear. If I had been there video taping it, it wouldn’t have been the same because the camera angle was so perfect. Having the HiCast Sports Network there… it was just meant to be. When I saw the video and showed it to Salvatore, he said ‘I told you I did that!’ He was very happy that it was actually on a video that he could save and share with his friends.” Salvatore texted the video to his friends and shared it on his Instagram account. What did his friends think? Salvatore replied, “Some of them didn’t even believe it was me!” 

Sal shared the highlight with a friend who shared the highlight on Twitter and within no time, the video went viral – viewed, retweeted, shared, and applauded by millions of fans worldwide throughout social media, fueled by traditional media shares from ESPN, USA Today, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and the Washington Post. The highlight went on to land in the number one spot of Sports Center’s Top Ten Plays of the week. “I was amazed. I felt really proud,” said Salvatore. 

The Washington Post likened Salvatore’s jump over the catcher to a similar move unsuccessfully executed by MLB Pirates player Andrew McCutchen just the week before, but Salvatore hadn’t seen it. Sal shared, “The funny thing is, he didn’t copy anyone. He rarely watches TV because he’s always doing something outside. The timing of it was pure coincidence.”

Sal shared, “There were lots of comments on the video and I’ve read some but the one that really stood out to me was from a guy who said, ‘If this was my son, I’d be so proud of him.’ I’m not sure who wrote it, but it was a really nice comment. It was a special moment. I’m so happy that HiCast Sports has cameras at these fields.”

“We’re all about bringing families together around youth sports and giving our users the power to save and share the moments that matter with the people who matter most. We’re proud to partner with our venues like Baseball Heaven across the country to cover memorable moments like this one by Salvatore.” said Stephanie Calabrese, Chief Brand Officer and Co-founder of the HiCast Sports Network.

Salvatore and his team lost their semi-final game that weekend and didn’t qualify for the National Youth Baseball Championship Finals, but you can find Salvatore in a number 7 jersey pitching or playing center field (or over home plate doing the #salvatoresteal) for the Legit Baseball Club on the HiCast Sports Network at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank NY, Diamond Nation in Flemington, NJ and Sports at the Beach in Georgetown, DE.

This video is © HiCast Sports Network. For media inquiries or usage requests, send an email to: scalabrese@hicastsports.com