Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Orleans UYA hosts Urban Invitational

NEW ORLEANS -- For the fourth consecutive year, MLB's Urban Invitational was hosted at the Urban Youth Academy in New Orleans. Saturday began with Play Ball, a youth-oriented program rooted in teaching baseball's fundamentals, then featured a six-team, round-robin tournament, featuring Alcorn State's 11-3 win over Prairie View A&M, and Grambling State's 11-5 win against Southern University.

In Saturday's other Invitational matchup at the University of New Orleans' Maestri Field, UNO captured an 8-5 win over the University of Illinois-Chicago during the weekend set, televised on MLB Network.

"You see the passion and energy from these teams, with the way that they play and how excited they are to be here, playing on MLB Network," said Del Matthews, MLB senior director of baseball development. "This is fun. This is what it is all about."

The goal for MLB's expanding youth-oriented initiatives -- a primary focus for MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred -- is to keep baseball pertinent in the lives of its pupils. To Matthews and Darrell Miller, vice president youth and facility development for Major League Baseball, that is what Saturday was actually all about.

"Keep playing," Miller said. "Make sure baseball is a part of their life. It doesn't have to be all of their life, it doesn't have to be all they do. But if it's a part of their life, that's valuable to us."


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