A bat, a ball and a park seem to be all Homewood Baseball needs to round up all-star players from near and far, bringing them together to make new friends and find fun in competition.
The Homewood Invitational Tournament (HIT), an annual baseball and softball competition, takes place on the town’s most popular baseball diamonds.
This year’s event, sponsored by Homewood Baseball & Softball, starts July 5 and is expected to attract more than 900 kids and their parents over the next three weeks.
The tournament was established in 1951, and ever since, the volunteer organization has assembled this highly anticipated post-season occurrence with hopes of providing lasting memories for young athletes.
Age groups range from 7- to 12-year-olds for baseball, and 8- to 12-year-olds for softball. However, while baseball will host a team for every age from 7 to 12, softball will only host three divisions — 8 and under, 10 and under and 12 and under.
Each division’s games are spread out over the three-week period, playing a pool-play style Monday through Friday. The winningest teams will be bracketed to play their final games on the weekend. Weekend bracketing will determine each age division’s champion.
John Blasgen, the organization’s first vice president and a key organizer of the tournament, said 60 boy teams and 28 girl teams from roughly 65 communities will take part in HIT this year.
“The HIT tournament is one of the premier tournaments for all-star teams in the South Suburbs and Chicagoland area,” Blasgen said.
With such a large crowd coming to compete, Homewood ensured accommodations for all their young participants. There will be three different fields operating under the tournament schedule, including Izaak Walton Park, Apollo Park and Orchard Park. Each field is within two miles from the other.
“While we host about 88 different teams, they are all strictly in-house or recreational programs. The kids who are participating in the tournament are the top performers in their age division for their programs,” Blasgen said. “The 12 best players in each age division go on to be part of the all-star team and represent their town.”
The tournament is in its final stages of preparation and welcomes any and all spectators. A Home Run Derby contest is planned during the competition.
More information is available at HB&S: http://www.homewoodbaseballandsoftball.com/Default.aspx?tabid=574538