O'Brien Field in Peoria will be the next host for the Class 1A and Class 2A Illinois High School Association State Baseball tournaments.
The IHSA Announced the location of the tournaments during Monday's monthly meeting of its Board of Directors. O'Brien Field will take over hosting duties from Silver Cross Field in Joliet, which was host of the small school state tournaments from 2006-2010.
Located in downtown Peoria, O'Brien Field is home of the Chicago Cubs' Class A affiliate Peoria Chiefs.
"We are very proud and excited to be hosting the IHSA Class 1A & 2A Baseball State Finals at O’Brien Field for the next five years," Peoria Chiefs and O’Brien Field President Rocky Vonachen stated in a press relase. "It is an event we have wanted here since day one. O’Brien Field is one of the best ballparks in all of minor league baseball and will provide both the players and fans with a great experience. It has showcased some of the top talent in Minor League baseball and now will showcase some of the best baseball talent in the state of Illinois."
The reason for the relocation of the tournament had to do with the locations of past schools that qualified for the tournaments in the past few years. Of the eight teams that qualified for the small school baseball tournaments six were from outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area.
Silver Cross Field will contrinue to host the Class 3A and Class 4A Baseball State tournaments. The move will also make it easier for IHSA Staff to administrate the small school baseball tournaments. The Class 1A and Class 2A State Softball tournaments are located across the Illinois River in East Peoria.
“We were glad to be able to reward Joliet and Silver Cross Field for their tremendous work hosting the baseball state finals," IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman stated in a press release. "The movement of the Class 1A/2A tournament reflects our Board’s philosophy to try and make our state final events more centrally located based on the location of the participants. With many of the 3A/4A qualifiers coming from Chicagoland, it made sense to leave this tournament in Joliet where it can continue to thrive."
In other IHSA Board news:
*Riverdale principal James Boyd was promoted to Vice President of the IHSA Board of Directors. He replaces Ron Connor of Clinton. Boyd represents IHSA Division 4, which includes the southern portion of the NISB coverage area.
*The issue over football playoff pairings was looked at. The Board made changes to the travel stipulation of games involving a team traveling more than 150 miles for a playoff game.
If any bracket of 16 teams has more than one game with a travel distance of 150 miles or more, the bracket is placed into quadrants. However, if the split into quadrants creates more travel, the teams will now remain in a bracket of 16.
- Cody Cutter