FARMINGTON — The Nolan Ryan World Series has been canceled.
The series, which is for players ages 13 and under, was set to take place July 26 to 31 in Farmington at the Sports Complex.
Late cancellations from several teams led to the tournament's demise, said Brad Campbell, Farmington Amateur Baseball Congress vice president, who had been working with teams across the country to finalize the tournament field.
"We were solid at eight (teams). I sent out the bracket and pool play, and the next day a team dropped," Campbell said. "Seven teams is very inconvenient, but we could have left it there. When I sent out a message, though, I only had a team from California, Las Cruces and two home teams willing to play. Everybody else dropped out."
Campbell said he was surprised at the turn of events, adding that he received a positive response to Farmington hosting the series.
"Back in December, when we initiated it, the response was huge. Teams from all over wanted to come," Campbell said. "We had to start picking and choosing, because it's primarily invite-only at 13U. At the time, I was turning teams away because so many wanted to come."
Campbell said the initial plan was to have a 16-team tournament, but as teams dropped out, the bracket was whittled down to eight teams.
"Over the last month, a few teams started dropping out. By the time that came around, it was a little late," he said. "It was difficult to find teams. A teams would say they're in, so we'd stop looking. Then they'd back out."
American Amateur Baseball Congress President Richard Neely said losing the tournament is expected to have a negative financial effect on the area. Visiting teams and their families would have stayed in hotels and frequented restaurants for the duration of the tournament.
"It's a big hit to Farmington and a bit hit to the AABC," Neely said.
The AABC is looking into possible punishments for the teams that backed out of the tournament.
"They are in the process of investigating why teams dropped out," Campbell said. "We've had issues with local teams not wanting to continue to the postseason. They are looking at each team's situation. ... The reasoning was multi-faceted, from teams not being able to get the money, the kids going elsewhere and teams losing players."
Neely said it was mainly an issue of parents deciding not to bring their kids to the tournament.
"The majority of it was parents and kids deciding not to go," Neely said. "They made a commitment and didn't follow through."
The Strike Zone Fuel were set to host the series after defeating Bloomfield on Saturday, and head coach Kim Carpenter said he's disappointed his players won't be able to compete against other teams from across the U.S.
"My heart is heavy for the kids. That's the unfortunate thing. These kids and this team's goal was to get better and to get to a World Series," Carpenter said. "I applaud the efforts of the AABC and the FABC to put this series together."
Neely said he is not sure whether Farmington will host the series next year.
"It will likely go out for contract and will take bids from our regions across the country," Neely said.