What was once baseball diamonds and soccer fields is now a lake at the Mercyhealth Sportscore One in northwest Rockford. The sports center is now underwater, after weeks of heavy rain and days of high water.
“Last Friday, we had three inches and then it kept magnifying, and slowly but surly, the river kept rising and our fields began to take on water,” said Sportscore One Program Manager, Marianne Larson.
The timing was far from perfect. The facility was scheduled to host the nation’s third ‘Baseball For All’ tournament, an all women baseball tournament aimed to break the stereotypes of women being unable to play the game.
“So, you begin to lay out plans,” said Larson. “We have an international tournament, we need to make places for these folks so they can experience Rockford the way they should experience it,” she added.
“We just roll with the punches and get it taken care of,” said Friends of Beyer Field volunteer Greg Schwanke.
Despite the flooding complications, the tournament still made its way to the Forest City. The opening ceremonies took place at Beyer Stadium on Thursday night, with hundreds of players representing teams from across the county, and even from Canada.
“I would indeed like it to be [at] our facility, but the turf fields are something beautiful to play on and this is going to get these young folks to play on full turf fields with some awesome lighting,” Larson said, as some games will now be played at Sportscore Two.
Schwanke says, no matter where the tournament is, it is vital that women’s baseball return to its roots.
“We’re bringing baseball back to Beyer Stadium, where the Rockford Peaches played, and this is part of the result of what we’ve done over the last ten years to bring women’s baseball back to Rockford,” he said.