Kissimmee, FL - USSSA Baseball is celebrating its 20th year in 2017. "Twenty years, where did the time go?" remarked USSSA Chairman of the Board and CEO, Don DeDonatis, "And that this anniversary coincides with the 50th Anniversary celebration of the entire association makes it even that more special."
USSSA added baseball to its repertoire of sports in 1997 when it became the first multi-sport governing body. Evolving from its 30 year/1 sport Slo-Pitch Softball Association to what is now the world's largest multi-sport organization, USSSA, and more specifically USSSA Baseball, is setting records in participation and has proven to be one of the trendsetters and leaders in the sport. "When we started in 1997, never did I dream we could reach 1 million kids playing USSSA Baseball. The exciting part now is, I can actually see us reaching the 2 million mark", stated USSSA Assistant Executive Director Rick Fortuna.
What began as a league and tournament play for only a few age groups, the USSSA Baseball program has evolved into a sport that can be played by all ages and all levels of ability. From 4 year olds to 18 year olds, from leagues to all-stars, USSSA has a home for everyone. With its specialty programs within the sport, the Elite World Series, Select 30 and the All American Games to name a few, both individuals as well as teams can rise above and be recognized not only for their individual skill levels but together as a team. "I have seen USSSA Baseball grow as a player, director, and now as the Assistant Executive Director of USSSA ", explained Don DeDonatis III. "The vision and opportunity to provide all kids a platform to do what they love is extremely gratifying. To be able to watch so many young talented MLB stars of today and knowing the majority of those kids played USSSA Baseball shows how great our leadership is from the top to bottom".
USSSA Baseball has spanned the globe, taking teams to compete internationally in both Japan and Prague and, for over 4 years, hosting its own Gold Medal Games where it sponsored teams from such countries as Venezuela, Mexico, Germany, Italy and Great Britain. MLB.com now broadcasts many USSSA Baseball tournaments. The newly announced partnership between the Major League Baseball Players Association and USSSA's own Select 30 Championships means even more exposure for those more than 1 million ball players.
20 years for many organizations might seem like a pinnacle, like they have reached the summit, but for USSSA Baseball, it is obvious it is only the beginning.