Flossmoor Baseball and Softball mascot Homerun Hank waves to the crowd during opening day ceremonies. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Youth baseball opening day ceremonies set for April 20

Youth baseball and softball seasons will launch on April 20 with traditional festivities in both Homewood and Flossmoor.

The Phillies come roaring out of the Flossmoor Road viaduct during the Flossmoor Baseball and Softball parade on Saturday, April 22. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
The Phillies come roaring out of the Flossmoor Road viaduct during the 2023 Flossmoor Baseball and Softball parade. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

For Homewood Baseball and Softball, the parade of teams will start at 11 a.m. near Irwin Park. 
Teams march for a mile along Ridge Road to the Izaak Walton baseball fields, tossing candy to the crowd to get arms warmed up.

When all the teams have reached the fields, the event will continue with ceremonial first pitches and recognitions. 

HBS President Angie Brandt said the theme for this year’s festivities will be “volunteers,” as the organization honors all the people who help keep youth baseball going after more than a half century. 
Flossmoor Baseball and Softball gets an earlier start on the same day, with parade lineup beginning at 8:45 a.m. The parade steps off from the Parker Junior High parking lot at 9:30 a.m.

Ball players toss candy to the crowd, a Homewood Baseball and Softball
opening day tradition. (Chronicle file photo)

Teams march east along Flossmoor Road to the Flossmoor Park ball fields, cheering all the way. The cheers get a echoing boost as teams traverse the viaduct. As is traditional, cheer judges will be posted at the corner of Flossmoor Road and Brassie Avenue to assess which teams show the most spirit. Awards are given during ceremonies at Bronco Field following the parade.

The FBS parade grand marshall this year will be Ernst Coupet, whose son, Isaiah Coupet, was a Major League Baseball draft pick, according to FBS President Carlo Gozzi. 

“Isaiah was a Flossmoor baseball player who continued on to excel both at H-F and The Ohio State University,” Gozzi said. “He was selected by the Colorado Rockies last year. Ernst will touch on his experience with Flossmoor baseball and the thrills of watching his son make it to the big leagues.”

The national anthem will be sung by Six of Spades, a local group of H-F High student performers.
Grant Sikkema will oversee the baseball leagues for the organization. He is a former collegiate pitcher with several years of coaching experience ranging from T-ball up to high school.

Former softball player Megan Swartz will leads the softball division. 

“She and her coaching staff have worked hard in the offseason working with pitchers from every age level,” Gozzi said.

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