BRADENTON -- Youth baseball is staying at Pirate City.
The Pittsburgh Pirates announced Monday they reached an agreement to keep the Baseball Factory in Bradenton until 2014.
Created in 1994, the Baseball Factory specializes in getting young baseball players ready for college and the recruiting process, and has been hosting events at Pirate City since 2008.
"Extending our partnership with Baseball Factory enables us to continue to build on the strong economic impact the sports performance industry has developed in Manatee County," said Rachelle Madrigal, the manager of sales and marketing for the Pirates' Florida operations. "We are excited to help attract more out-of-state visitors to Manatee County and the City of Bradenton by hosting quality programs like Baseball Factory at Pirate City and McKechnie Field."
Under the new agreement, the Baseball Factory will conduct 24 events at Pirate City and is expected to draw more than 2,000 people to Manatee County through 2014. The contract also states the Baseball Factory will award a scholarship to a pair of Manatee County players at each of the events hosted at Pirate City.
"Pirate City is a tremendous facility that will continue to serve as an ideal venue for our events," Baseball Factory CEO Steve Scalfani said in a statement issued by the Pirates. "Our coaching staff has included Pirates' manager, Clint Hurdle, and Rick Sofield, manager of the Pirates' Single-A affiliate, the West Virginia Power. Making this connection with the Pi
rates is right for our organization and we look forward to holding numerous events in Bradenton over the next few years."
Players who take part in the Baseball Factory are evaluated in a national tryout before being placed in the appropriate development program.
According to its website, 98 percent of the nation's Division I collegiate teams have at least one Baseball Factory student on its roster and more than 3,000 players who worked with the Factory have been taken in the MLB amateur draft.
The next Baseball Factory event to be played at Pirate City will be the Baseball Factory National World Series, which runs from July 27 through July 31.
"Hosting groups such as Baseball Factory at our facilities, particularly during the Pirates and Marauders offseason, demonstrates our commitment to have a positive impact on the local community 12 months out of the year," Madrigal said.