Baseball fans call Marion, Illinois, tournament a home run

MARION, IL — Baseball fans are calling a tournament in Marion, Illinois, a home run. The Pony Baseball Colt World Series features youth baseball players from around the globe.

Marion Mayor Anthony Rinella said they’ve made back the $50,000 it cost to host the event. Korea and Puerto Rico played in the championship game. Rent One Park hopes events like this will help keep the doors open in the stadium year round.

Ebik Torres and his team from Puerto Rico played in the championship game in Rent One Park. He said he was happy to be there.

“The turf is perfect to play even when it’s raining like yesterday. Very big, very beautiful and nice people here,” said Torres.

He brought 17 players, five coaches and 10 parents with him for this tournament. Rent One Park Assistant General Manager Cathy Perry said Rent One hopes to host more events like this year around.

“We have a beautiful stadium here. It can be used for so much more than just 48 Minors games that we play,” said Perry.

Perry said the park benefits from events like this.

“Six more days to have the doors open. Keeps our part-time seasonal staff busy longer, gives them more opportunities to earn some money instead of the 48 Minor games,” said Perry.

 Rinella said the ballpark is not the only place that’s seen the economic boost. He estimates the event having a $1.2 million to $1.5 million economic impact

“People coming into the city they see what Marion has to offer. It’s a win-win from both sides,” said Rinella.

Torres said he doesn’t plan on this being the last time his team plays in Marion.

“We hope next year we can come back with another good team,” said Torres.

The last day of the tournament was Wednesday. They’ll be back next year and the city is working on the third year.

The series used to be played in Lafayette, Indiana. Rinella said it will take three months for them to know the exact amount of revenue they made off the event.

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