ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Youth baseball has always been a big part of summers in the Stateline. These days many serious baseball players are spending their time with the Rockford Baseball Academy.
Since 2013 the Rockford Baseball Academy was run and run well by the Scarpetta brothers Dan and Dennis. Last October they turned the academy over to current Boylan coaches Matt Weber and Austin Licon. Licon is the President, Weber is the Vice President.
“Obviously, the Scarpetta’s have done a great job,” said Weber. “They’ve produced a lot of great players and good teams over the years.”
Weber and Licon are determined to continue that tradition with a few tweaks.
“I think with the generational change we’re a little more technology involved, a lot more video work,” said Weber. “We’re always looking to add something with HitTrax.”
Younger players ages 12-14 play in a local league and travel to some tournaments on weekends. Their season runs from April through Mid-July. High School kids play from late May or early June through July. They’ll travel further for games to the Chicago Suburbs, Kenosha, Indianapolis, sometimes further trying to play high-caliber competition.
RBA is already conducting tryouts for next year.
Two of the more established high school players currently for RBA are Hononegah’s Bryce Goodwine and Boylan’s Joey Appino.
“I would totally recommend this academy,” said Appino. It’s a great place for development. If you want to become better. These are coaches that know how to work hard.”
“They really care about their players,” said Goodwine. “They want you to develop, and they’ll work with you day-in and day-out, and the exposure they get us for colleges and stuff. We have a lot of kids that were 18 years old that just played, and a lot of them are going to colleges.”
“We’re an affordable program that’s just looking to enhance a player’s experience,” says Weber, “And the understanding that it’s good to be a great player in your area, but eventually you have to expand out and see kind of where you rank either in the state, the Midwest.”
The RBA also has an indoor facility with batting cages in Loves Park where players can work on their game year round.
The RBA will hold two more tryouts for next year’s teams the next two Wednesday’s July 28 and August 4 at Boylan High School. Tryouts for 12-14-year-olds will run from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tryouts for 15-18-year-olds will run from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Players can sign up on-site at those times. More information is available on RBA’s Facebook page.