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.


In this photo illustration, a person files an application for unemployment benefits on April 16, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Illinois Department of Illinois, the unemployment rate in the Rockford region remains high.

The adjusted unemployment rate in Rockford increased to 8.1% in March 2021 compared to 5.3% in March 2020. March 2021’s rate of 8.1% is the highest it has been during the month of March since 2017.
Rockford lost a total of 8,100 non-farming jobs since March 2020.

Leisure-Hospitality (-2,000),    Educational-Health Services (-1,800),  Manufacturing (-1,500), and  Retail Trade (-700) sectors recorded the largest employment declines over-the-year.

However, Transportation-Warehousing-Utilities (+100) had payroll gains over the year.

via IDES

Rockford had the third highest unemployment rate gain out of the 14 metropolitan areas in Illinois.

“As the state moves through pandemic recovery and the economy begins to heal itself, the major focus remains on assisting claimants and providing support to those still impacted,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes.  “IDES remains committed to administering benefits and providing job-matching services to individuals dislocated from their jobs as a result of the pandemic and eager to jump back into the workforce.”

In Ogle County, the adjusted unemployment rate increased to 6.3% in March 2021 from 4.4% in March 2020. The last time the March rate was equal to or higher was in 2016 when it was 7.0%.
Total nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,150 over the year.  The Trade-Transportation-Utilities (-275), Construction (-175), Professional-Business Services (-175),  and Leisure-Hospitality  (-175) sectors recorded the largest employment declines compared to one year ago.

In Stephenson County, the adjusted unemployment rate increased to 6.4% in March 2021 from 4.2% in March 2020. The last time the March rate was equal to or higher was in 2016 when it was 6.7 %.
Total nonfarm jobs decreased by 800 over the year.  The Educational-Health Services (-225), Manufacturing (-175),  Leisure-Hospitality (-150), and Government (-150) sectors recorded the largest employment declines compared to one year ago. 

Construction in Stephenson County (+75) had payroll gains over the year.