A sign welcomes players and spectators alike to Bronco Field for the championship game. (Bill Jones/H-F Chronicle)
Sports

Area to host massive youth baseball Memorial Day tournament

Flossmoor Baseball had a few down years post-pandemic, but it’ll get the chance to showcase its rebuild this Memorial Day with one of the biggest events in south suburban youth sports coming to Flossmoor Park.

“It’s great for the league. It gives us a lot of exposure to show that we’re a player again in travel baseball,” President of Flossmoor Baseball and Softball Carlo Gozzi said. “It’s good for the community because we’re going to be driving business into town.” 

Chicagoland Sunday Baseball founded its Memorial Day Tournament in 2007 and claims it’s the largest in the Chicagoland area. This year’s event will have over 100 teams playing at 10 different sites.

Gozzi had previous experience running travel baseball tournaments, which gave Flossmoor a leg up as a host. 

“I told (Chicagoland Sunday Baseball) ‘I could do this. We did it flawlessly,’” Gozzi said. “They were like ‘Do it, again.’ So I was like ‘OK.’”

Each team is guaranteed three round robin games on Saturday and Sunday. Winners advance to single-elimination semifinals and a championship Monday. The 8u, 9u and 13u semifinals will be in Flossmoor at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., with the finals set for 1:30 p.m. 

Flossmoor teams of all ages will play at home, with the only exception being the 10u team. It’ll be in Evergreen Park. Two of the four Flossmoor squads are undefeated in Sunday league going into this event, Gozzi said. 

“Sunday league, they’re just growing and growing so to win this is a big deal,” Gozzi said. “Sunday league is what all stars was when I was a kid, before travel baseball really blew up into what it’s become.”

For hosting, Flossmoor Baseball and Softball will get a donation that will be split among its four travel teams.

The town is getting the baseball bug, too. The influx of families are expected to help with local restaurants and businesses, many of which will be extending hours to accommodate them, Gozzi said. 

Games are open to the public. A full concession stand will be on-site, operated by local students. The field crew is also kids from the area. 

“We provide spring and summer jobs to students in the community. That’s a big deal for them, giving them real-world experience,” Gozzi said. 

Kona Ice will serve cold refreshments and Dogs on the Run will sell hot dogs. 

“This is a good thing for us to attract people to an organization that is doing things, in my opinion, the right way,” Gozzi said. 

More information is available at flossmoorbbsb.com or on the Flossmoor Firebirds Travel Baseball Facebook page. 

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