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Parades Saturday open baseball season

Baseball season officially opens in Homewood and Flossmoor on Saturday, April 22, when little leaguers, baseball and softball players march in opening day parades.
Flossmoor Baseball parade steps off at 8:30 a.m. from Parker Junior High on Flossmoor Road. The route heads east and then north at Brassie Avenue to the Bronco Field at Flossmoor Park. 
League mascot Home Run Hank will be tossing out T-shirts to the parade goers. The parade grand marshal is the Flossmoor Fire Department, “in honor of all they do to help our community and support our league,” said Chris Steiner, Flossmoor Baseball opening day chairman.
Eighth grader Audrey Simmons will sing the National Anthem for the opening ceremonies. The 26 teams, involving 500 players, will be competing for the annual Spirit Award. The first games start at 10 a.m.
The Flossmoor Firebirds, the 12-year-old traveling team, will be holding a fundraiser selling gourmet donuts from Flossmoor’s Glazed and Infused bakery. The proceeds will help the team raise money for a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., this summer. 
Homewood Baseball and Softball will have 75 teams this year — 54 teams for baseball and 21 teams for softball. The program will involve 900 participants.
The Homewood parade kicks off at 11 a.m. at Ridge Road and Highland Avenue near Irwin Park and continues east to the Izaak Walton Nature Preserve, location of the Homewood Baseball and Softball fields.
Special guests this year will be Homewood native and White Sox play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti and retiring District 153 Principals Cece Coffey of Churchill School and Mary Ann Savage of Willow School.  
The first pitch will be thrown out by Mike Nickolau, who is retiring after serving 25 years as a board member for Homewood Baseball and Softball.
From noon to 3:30 p.m., the Homewood Science Center will present “Science at the Ballpark,” exploring the physics and engineering design of American baseball. The program is part of the ongoing PopUp Science program. 

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