Orland Youth Association Softball Tourney is Place to Be on Holiday Weekend
Forty-four teams, including eight from Orland, converge as one of the rite's of summer plays out on Fourth of July weekend.
If you were any where near Humphrey Park in Orland Park during the evening this week, you probably saw and heard a hallmark of summer ... softball in the park.
The Orland Youth Association has been hosting its annual recreational softball tournament this week, and Wednesday was one of the last days for seeding for the weekend's championships.
"There are 44 teams here, and eight are from OYA," tournament director Kevin Durkin said. "They are all in-house teams. We don't allow travel players here."
Teams come from as far east as Schereville, Ind., and as far west as St. Charles.
The teams are divided by age, with 8-under being the youngest division and 14-under the oldest, though the OYA does have a high school division. All team members must try out, which allows for the players from each league who are "among the best," according to Durkin.
"It gives the kids a chance to play teams from other towns," Durkin said. "A lot of our teams have established some good rivalries over the years."
He added that his 14-under team has a rivalry with the Frankfort Fusion team.
Judy Pavone has been involved with the OYA for 20 years and assembles the umpiring crews.
"All of our umpires are American Softball Association registered, and some are even IHSA certified," she said. "In our pool play, we have one-person crews, but we go up to two in the championships."
To add to the atomosphere of an all-star tornament, there will be a home run derby at 8 p.m. on Friday at Humphrey Park, featuring a surprise guest.
"We do this for the girls," OYA Vice President Scott Adams said. "We want them to just play and enjoy the game and the tournament."
Adams also eased concerns about the girls playing in what could be record-breaking weather on Friday.
"All the girls are only playing one game Friday, and we'll have a lot of towels and water for them and we'll be keeping a close eye on them," he said.
All champions will be crowned by Sunday morning. For a full bracket and more information, visit the OYA Softball website.