It's that time of year again....when baseball players from near and far descend upon Crystal Lake for the McHenry County Youth Sports Association's Summer International Championships.
This year, 103 teams are competing in three divisions: the 11-year-old; 13-year-old; and 15-year-old. There are 15 international teams, said MCYSA board president Jack Sebesta, who also serves as superintendent of facility services for the Crystal Lake Park District.
"We have teams from Japan, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Sri Lanka," Sebesta said.
Locally, several baseball teams from Crystal Lake, Cary, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, McHenry and Woodstock will be competing. Teams from Crystal Lake include the Crystal Lake Babe Ruth, Crystal Lake Cardinals, Crystal Lake Bombers, Crystal Lake Slam, Crystal Lake Cyclones, and Crystal Lake Baseball, Sebesta said.
"We will have some very good baseball out here," Sebesta said. "We get a lot of people from the community who come to watch the games, but we wish more people would come. The players are really good, especially at the 15-year division."
Sebesta estimated there have been approximately 20 athletes who played in the MCYSA annual tournament (formerly known as CABA) who either played in Major League Baseball or are currently playing in the MLB.
In addition to providing an arena for superior baseball competition for youth players, the SIC tournament has brings a welcome influx to the surrounding economy. Tournament organizers expect to see about $2.2 million spent at area businesses.
"Through research, we've estimated that about $2.2 million will be spent at area hotels, restaurants, car rentals and retail. The people at Best Buy said that other than the Christmas holiday, the baseball tournament week is their biggest sales period.
The participating baseball teams will attend registration on Friday, and a skills competition will be held for the 11- and 15-year-old divisions at Lippold Park, 800 Route 176, Crystal Lake.
Opening ceremonies for the 11-year-olds will be at 1 p.m. at Lippold Park. The opening ceremony for the 15-year-old players is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at Lippold Park. The 13-year-olds, who don't start their games until later in the week, will march during the 15-year-old division ceremony, Sebesta said.
Games will be played in Crystal Lake, Woodstock, McHenry and Johnsburg.
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