FARMINGTON – The first pair of qualifying tournaments for the 2023 Connie Mack World Series will take place on June 2 in West Palm Beach, Florida, and on June 7 in Melissa, Texas.
The winners of those tournaments will join other qualifying tournament champions from six other states as part of the 12-team field that will compete for amateur baseball’s biggest prize when the Connie Mack World Series opens up in Farmington July 20.
In addition to the eight qualifying tournament winners, four teams will make up the rest of the field, including the defending champion Midland (Ohio) Redskins, which won last year’s event with a dramatic 9-8 win over Dallas-based D-Bat United.
Shannon Enfield, executive vice president of the American Amateur Baseball Congress, which presides over the Connie Mack World Series, recently announced the addition of a qualifying tournament in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The creation of a tournament in Florida reduces the number of teams receiving automatic bids to the CMWS to five, with Midland joining the Southern California Renegades, D-Bat United, the Don Mattingly World Series winners and the host team as the only teams getting an exclusive invitation to compete in the World Series.
The Albuquerque Baseball Academy's automatic bid from last year will not be renewed, according to Enfield. The elimination of that automatic bid opened the door for a team to get into the World Series by winning a tournament.
“I'm very happy with the way it worked out,” Enfield said. “Our number of teams is rising every year and that means these tournaments should have a number of very quality teams.”
For the second year in a row, the Don Mattingly World Series winners from last year will be represented in the CMWS. Dulin's Dodgers, also hailing from Texas, will be back in Farmington this summer. The Don Mattingly World Series is for amateur baseball players under the age of 17, with the CMWS representing baseball players a year older.
Winners in the 2023 Don Mattingly World Series, which will be held in July in Melissa, Texas, winners will receive an automatic bid into the 2024 CMWS according to Enfield.
“And that's something (the AABC) has been trying to do with all our younger-aged tournament winners is to ensure those teams can come back into the next year's corresponding event with an automatic bid,” Enfield said. “With the arrangement of the Don Mattingly series being new last year, it all will start to fall into the right time frame next year.”
Qualifying tournaments will also be held throughout the month of June and July in locations like Canada, as well as Irvine, California, New Orleans, Denver and Enid, Oklahoma, home of the 2021 CMWS champion Enid Majors.
Enid capped off a perfect season by winning the 2021 CMWS, also beating D-Bat United in the championship game. The success of the Majors is one of the reasons for the success and visibility of that qualifying tournament, which has expanded to 32 teams.
“The amount of interest in qualifying here has grown immensely and I'm seeing quite a bit of movement in that region for the qualifier,” Enfield said.
The Albuquerque Baseball Academy, which has committed to compete in both the qualifying tournament in Denver as well as in Enid, might still be represented in the CMWS this summer.
“There are a number of teams which have entered into more than one tournament,” Enfield. “If one of those teams wins an event and drop out, we’ll hopefully be able to fill those slots as they become available.”
After the qualifying tournaments in Florida and Texas will be a newly created Canadian qualifier which will begin in Toronto on June 9, followed by pair of tournaments opening in Joplin, Missouri and Denver on June 22. The AABC South Qualifier in New Orleans will open on June 29, followed by followed by the July 1 West qualifier in California with the South Plains qualifier in Oklahoma on July 6 the final leadup event for the CMWS.
The Canadian qualifier, which is being held in Mississauga, Ontario, just outside of Toronto, stepped in this week to fill the roster for qualifying tournaments after plans fell through for a prospective qualifier in Virginia.
“It came down to a matter of logistics and commitment from both sides,” Enfield said regarding not being able to secure a qualifier in Virginia. “There were time restrictions and fees added on at the last minute that we just couldn’t work with.”
For more information on the 2023 Connie Mack World Series, check out the tournament’s homepage at CMWS.org.