An enthralling display will light up the sky as the J. J. Keller Foundation, Inc. treats fans to fireworks during the opening ceremony of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Baseball Championship on Thursday (May 25) at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
The ceremony, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. A Parade of Champions will introduce fans to all eight teams participating in the finals of this year’s championship.
Included in the opening ceremony are the NCAA Elite 90 Award presentation and the announcement of the All-America teams. The first 750 fans attending the ceremony will receive a black commemorative mini-bat.
The J. J. Keller Foundation, Inc. focuses on basic needs, including providing food, shelter, clothing and medical care for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. Since 1990, the J. J. Keller Foundation, Inc. has carried on the giving spirit of John J. and Ethel D. Keller. The couple enjoyed their philanthropic work until Ethel passed away in 2004 and John in 2007.
More than 350 nonprofit organizations have received funds over the years from the J. J. Keller Foundation, Inc. The foundation reached a milestone of $40 million in grants in 2014. Board member James J. Keller gave the foundation grant to the local organizing committee of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.
The finals of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship is comprised of two four-team, double-elimination pools. Pool winners then square off in a best-of-three series for the national championship. The tournament features at least 15 games played over five or six days. Four games will be played on May 26-28, one or two games on May 29-30 and one potential championship game, if necessary, at 11 a.m. on May 31. Game times start at 10 a.m. each of the first three days and noon on May 30.
In the 2016 NCAA Division III Championship, Trinity University (Texas) won its first title in school history with a 10-7 victory over Keystone College (Pa.) in the final.
The finals are being held in Appleton for the 18th consecutive year. Lawrence University, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau are hosting the event.
Other major local sponsors are the Bergstrom Corporation, J. J. Keller Foundation, Inc., Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, The Post-Crescent, and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium serves as the venue of this championship. The facility is the home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Class A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.
A new giveaway item will be featured during each of the first five days of the championship. Fans on Friday (May 26) will receive a water bottle. The giveaways also include a Rawlings NCAA Baseball Championship logo keychain on Saturday (May 27), a luggage tag courtesy of Appleton International Airport on Sunday (May 28), a mini American flag courtesy of Paul and Dawn Roth on Monday (May 29), and a black mini-bat with the NCAA Baseball Championship logo on Tuesday (May 30).
Game tickets can be purchased by calling the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers ticket office at (920) 733-4152.
For more information on the 2017 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship, visit www.ncaa.com.
Additional information can be obtained by contacting Joe Vanden Acker, Lawrence University Director of Athletic Media Relations, at (920) 832-6878; Kennan Timm, UW-Oshkosh Sports Information Director, at (920) 424-0365; or Matt Ten Haken, Director of Sports Marketing for the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, at (920) 734-3358.