MELISSA — This summer, there will be no grander national stage for baseball players 17 years of age and under than the Z-Plex baseball facility as the Don Mattingly World Series, powered by the City of Melissa, AstroTurf, Texas Rangers Hall of Famer Rusty Greer’s Baseball School, and SR Bats comes to Melissa for the first time.

The tournament serves as a showcase for baseball players vying for college scholarships or pro contracts. The event will take place from July 9-14 and play will occur at the Z-Plex Texas Sports Village, formerly known as the Melissa Sports Complex, which sits about a half-mile east of Hwy 121 on FM 545 (4220 East Melissa Road) in Melissa and is home to three lighted, turfed baseball fields, one softball field and a fourth baseball field under construction. In addition to the Z-Plex, which is only in its second year of operation, teams playing in the DMWS will also use one of the recently modernized and turfed baseball fields at Zadow Park, in the heart of Melissa at 3001 McKinney St. (Hwy 5).

The double elimination tournament is being presented by Melissa Sports LLC in conjunction with Five Tool Baseball and the South Plains Region of the American Amateur Baseball Congress. Twenty teams made up of elite, club-level baseball players, each player vying for attention from college and pro scouts, will compete during the five-day tourney, according to Paul Anderson, CEO of Melissa Sports LLC.

“These young men are some of the best baseball players in the nation,” he said. “They make a commitment to the sport that many times leads to a college scholarship or a contract with professional baseball teams. They will put on a baseball showcase that is rarely seen in the North Texas area. At the same time, these young men will be displaying the best in teamwork and character.”

Melissa Sports LLC officials are planning an opening ceremony for the tournament on July 8 starting at 6:30 p.m. and are inviting the entire Melissa community to attend. An entry parade with team colors will be the cornerstone of the ceremonies with support from the Melissa High School Band and cheerleaders.

The festive atmosphere at the opening will include team introductions, a welcome address by Melissa Mayor Reed Greer and a special welcome by Rusty Greer. The evening’s highlight will be an MLB All-Star-style homerun derby. Players will represent their teams in the longball competition. Fans retrieving the homerun balls will have a chance to have them autographed.

Each of the 20 visiting teams will also be increased by one local honorary player for the tournament from the Down’s Syndrome Guild of Dallas and Melissa ISD’s Special Education Department. In addition, members of the Career Technology Education program at Melissa High School will be trained in the state-of-the-art scoreboards at both locations, creating in-game programming. The CTE program prepares Melissa students for careers in technology. The Don Mattingly World Series is one of several national-level tournaments held for top-level teams at different age levels.

Parking is free at both facilities. A one-day pass with entry to all fields is $5 and a five-day pass is $20. Food and drink will be available for purchase at the fields. Memorabilia, souvenirs and other keepsakes will also be on sale.