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Huntley Blue's Baseball Bash

A Memorial Day tradition continues this weekend with the Huntley Blue's tournament.

Hundreds of young baseball players, their families and fans will flock to Huntley this weekend for the Huntley Blue Memorial Day Baseball Bash tournament.

Huntley Blue baseball is the travel organization of Huntley Youth Little League Baseball whose members play around the state and country, said Vince Ottaviano, Huntley Blue vice president of operations.

The team began organizing its bash three years ago, and the tournament has been steadily doubling, he said. Sixty teams — with a total roaster of 750 players — will play at Tomaso Park, on Ackman Road, and Betsey Warrington Park, 12209 West Main St.

Ottaviano predicts 1,500 to 2,000 people will attend the games, which run from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

“Our Huntley Blue program has gotten popular. Our teams are quite good, so a lot of people know about Huntley Blue,” Ottaviano said. “We’ve put this tournament on and a lot of teams are interested in coming to the event.”

Taking the baseball field is a Memorial Day tradition for lots of families, and the bash gives teams a chance to keep the tradition, he said. The tourney also gives teams a chance to see where they stack up halfway into the travel season, which started April 1, he said.

Teams travel from as far as Wisconsin to play at the weekend games, he said. Awards are given for first, second and third places, and team members get a T-shirt.

Huntley Blue has 11 teams for children ages 9 to 16. It has 135 members total, he said. It was started by Mario Mescino.

“This was a Little League tournament that wanted to play more competitive baseball,” Ottaviano said.

Travel baseball teams boomed over the last five years. Parents, kids and coaches wanted more competitive games, he said, to get kids ready for high school.

This year, Huntley Blue will play in New York, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

Huntley Blue has 300 volunteers helping at different locations doing things like running concessions to field prep to managing parking, he said.

“Each parent is required to work the Memorial Day tournament to ensure a high level of service for participants coming in,” Ottaviano said. “It’s one of the reasons we get more and more teams coming back. We have a good reputation what we do at a service level.”

Huntley Blue’s tournament is also a plus for the village and local businesses. Chiro One Wellness Center will do screenings at the games. This year, the team partnered with to offer discounts to Stingray Bay Aquatic Center and draw more exposure to the Huntley community, he said.

“The Dairy Mart loves this event,” Ottaviano said.

Vince Carone May 25, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Wonderful, Organized , Fun event!!!! Thanks Mario Mescino!!!
Jim McAlpine May 28, 2012 at 01:20 AM
This was the most poorly organized, poorly run tournament we have participated in in 5 years of travel baseball!
Jim Gerardi May 29, 2012 at 03:21 AM
With all that goes into running a tournament of this magnitude, I think that the entire Huntley Blue organazation should be very proud of how it turned out. Great job and continued success to a great program and an outstanding tournament...
Jim McAlpine May 29, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Agreed, a lot goes into to running a tournament (thought I'm not sure if this one really had magnitude) and this group was ill prepared for the challenge.
Greenbo1 May 30, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Not sure what Jim's problem is besides the fact that he was the guy that was disagreeing with every call with the umpire and was removed from the game and facility for it. The tournament was ran great with the Huntley Blue folks working their butts off with trying to provide a solid tournament. Show me another tournament for @ $400 where after every game, the field is dragged, lined, raked, ETC. The umpires worked hard, hustled, and did a good job. We have been a part of this tournament for 3 years now and it is one of the best ran around - hands down. I heard nothing but compliment after compliment from many teams and parents. I think Jim just is crying over spilled milk. GOOD JOB HUNTLEY BLUE! Don't let one person try to ruin your success.
Greenbo1 May 30, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Also Jim - for the record - there were 60 teams at this tournament being played at 3 actual locations/sets of fields. The last few years, there were only around 30 teams. SO, common sense tells me that if a tournament is doubling from year to year, then something is being done correctly. I was a coach that was there watching your game. You are the score keeper for a team I won't mentioned. You did not stop complaining. I then heard you the next day talking with a parent complaining again that you were only asking the umpire what the calls were so you can input them into your ipad. You were a problem for the umpire, you were warned and removed from the game period. Your team and your kids played great but came up short. Sorry to be direct with you but I hate to see 1 or 2 people trying to run down someone or an organization when it was totally uncalled for. You were even in the directors face complaining about umpires. Best of luck to your team the rest of the year.
Tim Goraj May 30, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Mr. McAlpine, On behalf of the officiating group I am sorry to hear that you had a poor experience at this tournament. This travel organization and for that matter all travel organization should be held in high honor for running such an event. 60 team, 9 fields at separate location with over 600 players and coaches this was an extraordinary affair for a Holiday weekend. Now let’s add in the 90+ degree heat and weather. I don’t think the Huntley Blue organization could have provided anything more. But if you think they can please be so kind as to contact them and provide them with more detail of what you would have done differently. Now let’s just take it one step further. The Blue organization and every team that participated in this event or other event should keep the # 1 most important thing in mind. This is not for you the parent(s), coaches, or umpires to relive your youth through your child. These tournaments are for the children to have fun, learn good fundamentals, and respect one another. I saw that this weekend in these athletes and teams. I would appreciate that you reconsider your thought s and redirect your frustration of your weekend to ME and not the Huntley Blue Organization. If your disappointment is with the officiating staff I would appreciate if you can provide some detail on how I can make the experience of tournament baseball better for you. Please leave the Huntley Blue Organization out of it. UIC
Jim McAlpine May 30, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I have said my peace and I will not engage in an argument here. Greenbo1 (whoever you are) you do not have all the facts nor were you privy to what the umpire said to me between inning that led up to the incident you were so happy to mention. At least I had the courage to identify myself and state my position honestly. I'm not hiding behind some alias...Greenbo1.
Jim McAlpine May 30, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Tim - thank you for your comments. I really would just prefer to be done with this, but if you want more specifics on the incident between your umpire and me, I will be happy to provide my side of the story as it has clearly not been stated. In the end, I was wrong for escalating the situation, but it was your umpires initial response to some very sincere and honest questions (not questioniong his calls at all) that started the whole affair. If you want to discuss further leave an e-mail or phone number here and I will contact you directly. I am not willing to provide my contact info here coinsidering people like Greenbo1 are on this forum.

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