Christopher Tomlinson/The Daily Sentinel

After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series last year, fans are eager to get back to Suplizio Field to watch some baseball. Through Wednesday, about $130,000 in ticket revenue had been purchased for this year’s JUCO World Series, which begins May 29.

It hasn’t come without hiccups and people frustrated with the new way to purchase tickets for this year’s Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.

But after a bumpy week or two after the switch to a new online ticketing program, fans are snapping up tickets for the tournament, which begins May 29 at Suplizio Field. As of Wednesday morning, about $130,000 in ticket revenue had been purchased, said Darren Coltrinari, a member of JUCO’s executive committee.

“That’s without opening up single-game or day ticket purchases,” Coltrinari said. “So some folks may be waiting for that. Otherwise, this is our first go at it and I think it’s going well. The majority of people have renewed their tournament passes.”

Today is the final day for those who had reserved seats in 2019 to renew those seats. Saturday morning, all remaining reserved seats are open for purchase, as well as single-game and the new single-day tickets.

With the tournament going to online ticket sales only, fans had to navigate through that process, many for the first time, and there were some snags.

“We no longer have a box office,” Coltrinari said. “So it went from a staffed subcontractor to volunteers and the crossover of those systems, it’s challenging. There’s gonna be some hiccups, but we’re doing the best we can.

“We’re not the first or the last venue to go electronic.”

Fans can buy tickets at jucogj.org. There’s a ticket icon in the upper right-hand corner that will take them directly to the ticket site, or they can access it in the pull-down menu under “Tournament” or “Visitor Information” and selecting “Purchase Tickets.” From there, fans can select their preferred section and choose their seats. Two large general admission areas are also available, the sections along the left field and right field lines.

Tickets can be sent to a smartphone to be scanned at the gate, or emailed and printed out. Fans can still share individual games or days with others, either giving others a printed ticket or sending them an electronic code. Tickets can be scanned only once at the gate.

The outfield bleachers are not being sold this year. Participating teams who want to watch other games or are waiting for the previous game to end to take the field will use that area. Fans are not allowed in the outfield bleachers in order to keep the teams as isolated as possible under COVID-19 protocols.

All students in the Grand Valley can receive a free ticket, good for the morning game one of the first two days of the tournament, through a sponsorship with Hilltop Community Resources. Tickets will be delivered to schools within the next two weeks.

With no seating restrictions placed on the tournament by the Mesa County Health Department, plans are moving ahead as teams begin qualifying tournaments this week.

The South Atlantic District (formerly Gulf) tournament in Florida began Wednesday and runs through Sunday, with eighth-ranked Santa Fe State College upset in the first round by Miami Dade, but rallied for an 8-7 win over Indian River in 11 innings to stay alive in the elimination bracket.

The South District began Thursday in Ozark, Alabama, with No. 9 Chattahoochee Valley the No. 1 seed from the South Division and Snead State No. 1 from the North Division. That tournament runs through Tuesday.

The other eight districts begin regional play this weekend, with those teams advancing to district playoffs, most of which will wrap up the weekend of May 21-22.

For the first time, the JUCO World Series will be seeded instead of having rotating pairings in the first round. The NJCAA baseball committee will meet the morning of May 24 to determine those seedings, which will be announced by the NJCAA the following day.