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James Madison to host CAA Championships in 2012 and 2013

HARRISONBURG, Va., Oct. 20, 2011 –Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park, which is entering its third season as the home of James Madison baseball, was selected this week as the host site for the 2012 and 2013 Virginia 529 CAA Baseball Championships.

“We are very pleased to serve as the host for the 2012 and 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Baseball Championships,” stated Jeff Bourne, Director of Athletics at JMU. “This event has been a very exciting and well-run championship over the past eight years at UNCW. The Harrisonburg community is a very vibrant and supportive community for baseball, and we look forward continuing the tradition of hosting a great championship in our newly-opened facility. It should be a great venue and we welcome coaches, student-athletes, parents and guests from our fellow institutions to the James Madison University campus. This is a wonderful opportunity for the entire Harrisonburg community to enjoy a marquee sporting event on our campus.”

The tournament returns to a six-team format for the 2012 season and will be held May 23-26. The 2013 tournament will be held May 22-25. The tournament field is returning to six teams, as it stood for the 2001 through 2009 seasons, after consisting of four squads for each the 2010 and 2011 championships. The first three days, Wednesday through Friday, each year will feature three games each day followed by Saturday’s championship contest, plus a second game if necessary in the double elimination format.

All-session ticket packages for the 2012 CAA Baseball Championship are already available at Reserved chairback tickets for the duration of the tournament are available for $35. General admission bench seats for the four days cost $25 for adults and $15 for youth, JMU faculty and staff, senior citizens and veterans. Single-day tickets will not be sold until May with an anticipated pricing structure of $15 for reserved chairbacks, $10 for adult general admission and $5 for youth, faculty and staff, senior citizens and veterans.

The CAA championship returns to the state of Virginia for the first time since 1994 following 17 consecutive seasons held in the state of North Carolina. The last eight tournaments have been hosted by UNCW at Brooks Field with JMU capturing titles there in 2008 and 2011. Prior to that, the tournament was held at Coy Tillett, Sr. Memorial Field in Manteo, N.C. from 2000 to 2003 and at Grainger Stadium in Kinston, N.C. from 1995 to 1999. JMU last hosted postseason baseball competition for six consecutive seasons from 1979 to 1984 when the ECAC Southern Division Tournament was held at Long Field/Mauck Stadium, the previous home of the Dukes.

Veterans Memorial Park is a sprawling complex that features competition facilities for JMU baseball and softball along with indoor support areas such as coaches’ offices, meeting rooms, locker rooms, study areas, batting cages, sports medicine treatment space and strength and conditioning equipment, all housed within Memorial Hall. A monument at the entrance to the complex was dedicated on Veterans Day of 2009 and honors all casualties of war from Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

The baseball facility was dedicated as Eagle Field in honor of former Harrisonburg mayor Rodney Eagle in April of 2010 during the complex’s inaugural season. The playing surface features artificial Fieldturf covering everything but the pitching mound and home plate. Installed drainage systems can remove up to six inches of rain per hour. Spectator seating can accommodate 1,200 fans with all seats featuring either seatbacks or benchbacks. The complex also features bullpens, batting cages, spacious restrooms, extensive concessions offerings, a team store and a press box with a central operations room and four private broadcast booths. The facility is fully ADA equipped with elevator access to the top of the spectator seating area.

JMU baseball played its first game at Veterans Memorial Park with an 11-10 win over Longwood on March 3, 2010. Two weeks later, the Dukes hosted No. 1 Virginia on March 17 in the first home night game in program history with a record 1,815 fans in attendance, not including an additional estimated 600 fans watching from beyond stadium gates.

JMU averaged a program record of 795 fans per game during 18 home dates in the facility’s first season in 2010. In the second year of the facility in 2011, the Dukes averaged 643 fans in 29 home games without the luxury of hosting the country’s top-ranked team.

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