By Doug Halberstadt
Rockford-area baseball fans have more than one option when it comes to going out to the ol’ ball game this summer. For the first time in three seasons, Marinelli Field will once again be home to baseball in Rockford.
The Rockford Foresters will make the southwest-side ball park their home for the 2010 season. Play there begins this Friday night (May 28) as the Foresters open up their season at home against the Chicago Zephyrs. The first pitch of the new season is slated for 7:05 p.m. The Foresters will also face the Zephyrs again on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s game is at 7:05 p.m. and the game on Sunday will begin at 1:05 p.m.
The new baseball team will be part of the Great Plains Baseball League, which is a new summer collegiate wood bat league with teams based in the Midwest. Summer collegiate wood bat teams have been a breeding ground for future Major League Baseball players for years.
Area baseball fans might recognize some of the names and faces on the inaugural Foresters roster. Some of the local players on the opening day roster include left-handed pitcher Luke Ingersoll of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, infielder Jorge Garza of Robert Morris College, shortstop Jake Nicholson of Rock Valley College, outfielder Josh Johnston and left-handed pitcher Marc Ulloa of Kishwaukee College.
“Adding these five local guys to the team is great for the Foresters and adds to the already long list of local players on our team,” said Majority Owner and President Joe Stefani. “These ballplayers not only come from some talented college teams, but also from local high schools in the area and shows that local high schools produce some talented ballplayers.”
All five players represent local high schools including West Carroll (Ingersoll), St. Rita (Ulloa), Boylan (Garza), Honenegah (Johnston), and Stillman Valley (Nicholson).
According to Stefani, fans can come onto the field, run the bases and get autographs from the Forester players following each home game.
Individual game tickets start at $4 each in the family section and range up to $8 each for premium seating. In addition, the team will be holding two special theme days during the 2010 season that deal with tickets. Every Tuesday night game will be dubbed “$2 Ticket Tuesday” where all tickets at Marinelli Field are only $2. Every Monday night will be “Unemployment Night,” where fans that are unemployed can receive a free ticket by showing a valid ID and documentation showing who they are currently unemployed.
Information on season tickets, group tickets and corporate sponsorships can be obtained by calling the front office at (815) 708-0242 or by visiting the team’s web site at www.RockfordForesters.com.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the May 26-June 1, 2010 issue