Playing ball back home

Playing ball back home

by Eric A Thomas

The teams that make up Jacksonville Area Baseball partnered up with Future Champions Sports Complex in 2020 to play the majority of their games at the complex. After much needed work on the facilities for JAB (Jacksonville Area Baseball), they are finally playing their games at home again.

There are three baseball diamonds located behind American Legion in Jacksonville that JAB calls home. “We slowly started transitioning into playing full time back on our fields in 2022,” stated Andrew Tobin, JAB director. “It is great to be back and playing our schedule with our renovations.”

The organization started a water project a few years ago to bring running water to all three diamonds through water hydrants. The project also included sewer lines running to a building that was built between the second and third diamonds. This building houses bathrooms and a concession area.

“Without the help of many in the community, local businesses, sponsorships and The Jacksonville Children’s Foundation, JAB wouldn’t have been able to put in the new bathrooms and concession building,” Tobin added. “We thank the many people who volunteered to get done whatever needed done.”

Several businesses in the building trades became involved to bring the many parts together to make this project a reality.

Cors Electric, Zimmer Electric, HRI Plumbing, Aire Serve, Benton & Associates, Inc. and Brickey Builders brought it to completion.

JAB is fielding 39 teams this season made up of 410 boys and girls playing T-ball, softball and baseball. The age range for boys is 4-14 and the girls range from 6-14.

“Because Jacksonville does not offer Pony Colt any longer, we wanted to provide an outlet for this age bracket … 14 years old; to help transition into playing ball in high school,” concluded Tobin. “We started this age division this year.” The baseball season is five weeks long and they are guaranteed 10 games total. The softball and T-ball season is five weeks long as well.

Games are typically played Monday through Thursday during May for baseball and then in June for softball and T-ball. If there are any makeup games, they try to schedule them on Friday or Saturday.

This many children playing these many games needs a lot of volunteers to make things happen. Without volunteers, JAB would not happen, remarked Tobin. The organization could always use people for field maintenance such as mowing, weed eating and anything else regarding maintaining the fields.

They could also use people to serve as umpires. With the new addition, people are needed to run the concession, keep the bathrooms clean, take care of trash and anything else that arises.

Financial contributions can be made by sponsoring teams, purchasing signs that will be displayed on the fences to advertise businesses, or in-kind contributions and monetary donations.

To keep up with current happenings or to contact them, message them through Facebook at “Jacksonville Area Baseball.”

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