Division II baseball attendance rises since last year

Town gave out tickets for free

BY J. MIKE BLAKE, Staff Writer
CARY - New attendance records were set in this year's NCAA Division II baseball championships, which were held for the third straight year at Cary's USA Baseball Complex.

This year's event had the three highest single-game attendance marks since the tournament came to Cary.

The total attendance in the 13 games - 7,765 - also set a new record. That number was up 5 percent from last year's record-setting figure of 7,389.

Officials cited a number of factors for the increase, among them: the giveaways by the town of Cary.

The town offered 1,000 free tickets to Saturday's championship game and another 1,000 free tickets that could be used for any two games so long as they fell on the same day preceding the championship.

The town did not offer that many free tickets in past years. Parking was also free.

The previous single-game attendance record in the past two years was last year's championship game, which brought in 1,107 patrons.

That was surpassed in the tournament's second game thanks to North Carolina's own Mount Olive College, located in Wayne County.

Mount Olive was last year's "host" college for the event, but the team did not advance to the 2010 championships as it did in 2009.

This year, there were 1,213 people on-hand for the Mount Olive's first tournament game and 1,325 for the second.

Led by Apex graduate Michael Knox, the Trojans were a big draw for this year's tournament.

Only 419 people came out for what became Mount Olive's final game in the tournament this year, in which the Trojans were eliminated by Millersville (Pa.) University.

The championship game - which saw West Florida take down Winona State (Minn.) - also easily surpassed last year's number with 1,223 in the stands.

While free tickets were a factor in that number, West Florida fans showed up in droves for the Saturday contest.

Correspondent David Justice contributed to this report.
mike.blake@nando.com or 919-460-2606