Rockford, Illinois News

Play ball! Tournaments return to Rockford

ROCKFORD – Rockford will be home to eight tournaments in July and August, event expected to have a $2.1 million economic impact on the region, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau announced Thursday.

July 10-12, the Experience the Turf  9U-14-U travel baseball tournament will be held at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two. Sixty teams are registered. The event is sponsored by Quad Cities-based JP Sports.

“JP Sports is excited to be hosting a youth baseball tournament in Rockford this weekend,” JP Sports President John Pieritz said. “For the last several months, we have been working with our partner facilities, communities, health departments and elected officials to reopen youth sports in a safe and responsible manner.”

JP Sports has also scheduled Experience the Turf 2, 3 and 4, which will also be held at Sportscore Two. They will be held July 31-Aug. 2; Aug. 7-9; and Aug. 14-16, respectively.

Baseball tournament play continues with Game Day USA’s Rockford Turf War and Super Regionals July 3-5 and July 17-19 with a total of 80 teams

Youth soccer is also making a return to Rockford for the first time in 2020 with the Puri Cup College Showcase. Sponsored by Puma, the tournament begins July 24 and concludes July 26 with a projected 100 teams competing.

Softball will make its return to the area Aug. 12-6 with the 2020 North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) Men’s World Series. The 80-team tournament will be held at Mercyhealth Sportscore One.

“The gradual return of tourism events, and sports tourism in particular, to our community is another optimistic step forward,” RACVB Vice president of Marketing & Sports Development Nick Povalitis said. “As part of the hospitality and tourism industry’s recovery, we’re going to continue to shine a light on what we have to offer as a destination. We’re thankful to be on this journey with partners like JP Sports and the Rockford Park District, which embody what it means to be committed to responsible and safe reopening practices.”

Officials said the tournaments will adhere to in accordance local and state public health guidelines, including those in the Clean Hands, Open Doors  the Restore Illinois phased approach to reopening. Coronavirus safety protocols will include;

  • Temperature and wellness checks;
  • Staying home for anyone experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • Remaining socially distanced six feet apart, unless in the same household;
  • Mask wearing in common areas;
  • Requiring tournament participants and coaches to bring and use their own equipment, including their own water bottles and balls while fielding;
  • Disinfecting assigned dugouts, common surfaces upon arrival;
  • Cleaning and sanitizing personal property, and discarding trash from the dugouts and venue spaces;
  • Requiring pre-pay options where admission is charged;
  • Suspending award ceremonies, the use of scoreboards, handshakes (which will be replaced by a tip of the cap), and other contact activities;
  • Assigning site coordinators to monitor player, coach and spectator behaviors to encourage social distancing and sanitization protocols; and
  • Re-evaluating event and venue protocols weekly to ensure best practices remain current.

“The Rockford Park District is working very closely with tournament directors to make any additional modifications based on guidelines from governing associations along with state and local health officials. Safety has been and will continue to be one of our top priorities,” said Mercyhealth Sportscore General Manager Louis Mateus said. “We have worked with and followed guidelines from the CDC, IDPH, Restore Illinois, and local health officials to develop procedures and protocols to ensure we can provide a fun and safe recreational experience. Our team has and will continue to increase efforts to clean and sanitize our facilities and program areas in accordance with CDC guidelines.”

As an extension of the community’s open-for-business messaging, RACVB’s tourism marketing and sales efforts are also making steady progress for rescheduling and creating new events alongside USA BMX, USA Table Tennis and USA Wrestling, which each had national event contracts in place at Rockford area venues prior to the pandemic.

More information about upcoming events is at GoRockford.com

Learn more about the Clean Hands, Open Doors Pledge at RockfordCleanHands.com.