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Youth baseball company expands

NICHOLASVILLE — Dallas Murphy, the owner of Memorial Sports Complex, a youth baseball facility in Nicholasville, announced Friday that he has purchased a Philadelphia-based company that will bring hundreds more travel-baseball players to the Jessamine County seat.

U.S. All-Star Baseball has purchased Elite Championship Tournament Baseball, which runs national and local events for youth baseball, Murphy said. The national office for ECTB will be in Nicholasville but a regional office will remain in Philadelphia, he said.

The purchase means that "we now control or have access to over 120 different facilities throughout the Southeast and Northeastern seaboard," Murphy said. In all, ECTB has teams in 24 states and will hold 117 tournaments this year.

The purchase became final in mid-December but the purchase price was not disclosed.

In addition, the purchase means World Series tournaments will come to Nicholasville, Murphy said. Those tournaments will look to communities surrounding Nicholasville that could accommodate the events, Murphy said.

Lexington Sports Authority estimates that Memorial Sports Complex brings $6.7 million into the Central Kentucky economy through hotel rooms and food sales associated with the travel teams that play in the Nicholasville facility, Murphy said.

"What we're doing now, we're looking at between $15 million to $18 million in economic impact to the area," Murphy said.

Nicholasville will also be the site of one of 24 "showcase events" in which players can try out for a national championship team. Those events, previously held in Ohio, Florida or elsewhere, will identify players for ECTB stars teams that will play at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. The 2009 National Team Identification Series will consist of three age groups and will feature 648 players Sept. 18-20.

"That is a fantastic opportunity for the young men of Central Kentucky," Murphy said. "These will be super high-class events."

Murphy, who lives in Lexington, opened Memorial Sports Complex in May 2003 on Nicholasville's southern edge. Local hotels and other businesses have already seen an impact since that opening, said Nicholasville Mayor Russ Meyer.

"What Dallas has done thus far had been a big deal, but this is going to expand it and grow it," Meyer said.