Taking your player to the next level

Travel Baseball Tournament Organizers and Tournaments in Illinois

USSSA Illinois
Baseball tournament organizer in Illinois.

Baseball tournament manager in Illinois.

Articles For Those New to Travel Baseball

What is Travel Baseball?
Clarkstown Baseball Association provides a cut and dry overview of what travel or elite baseball is and the differences between it and "Recreational" baseball.

Choosing a Youth Travel Baseball Team
This is a great introductory article for those new to the travel baseball scene that can help you narrow down what you are looking for.

Picking the Right Travel Baseball Team
By John Pinkman
Taking a look at Coaches, Mission, costs, size of team and much more.

Overuse Injuries in Youth Baseball
Pitchers aren't the only ones with overuse injuries in baseball. Check out the latest data and prevention tactics.

Pros and Cons of Parent Coaches and Being One Yourself
Parent coaches in travel baseball, good thing or bad thing? Is it a good fit for you?

Youth Sports: Maintaining Reasonable Expectations
What are the chances your kid will play college baseball or softball? Professional baseball or softball? You should read this article.

Where the Elite Kids Shouldn't Meet
By Tim Keown, ESPN Writer
A raw and honest look into Travel / Elite Baseball

Sites, Organizations and Articles We Like

American Legion Baseball
Teams from 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Regional tournaments, State tournaments and a World Series make this one of the most popular baseball organizations around.

Dixie Youth Baseball
They play great baseball and players have an opportunity to play in tournaments and a league World Series. Find a team or start a franchise.

Babe Ruth League Youth Baseball
Great organization and great baseball. This is another option for youth baseball players to continue developing their skills. Start or find a charter here.

Travel Ball Select
Travel Ball News, Forums, Scores, Travel Ball TV and other cool stuff.

Game Changer
Sign your team up, keep stats during the game, track other teams. It's great!

Little League News


College Baseball News


MLB News and Rumors from Yard Barker


pitcher in travel baseball
travel baseball baserunner

Travel Baseball Teams in Illinois

MLB Players from Illinois

Illinois has produced plenty of MLB players. More than 40 are still active in the pros. The list includes some up-and-coming stars like Jason Kipnis and Tony Cingrani as well as some who have been in the pros a while, among them, Curtis Granderson, Jayson Werth, and Ben Zobrist.

Jason Kipnis

Jason Kipnis was born in 1987 in Northbrook. He played recreational youth baseball. He also received baseball instruction at North Shore Baseball Academy **(

At Glenbrook North High School, Kipnis lettered in both baseball and football. Despite his strong performance (with conference MVP among his honors), he was not offered a full scholarship (

He opted to play ball at the University of Kentucky but later transferred to Arizona State University. He spent one summer playing in a collegiate summer league. At this stage, he was an outfielder. After he was taken as a second round draft pick in 2009, though, he was transitioned to second base.

Kipnis’ minor league teams included the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Kinston Indians, Akron Aeros, and Columbus Clippers. He made his MLB debut in 2011 at age 24.

Kipnis has been successful in the Big Leagues, ranked high in Fantasy 2014.

It’s not just his ball skills that have garnered attention. Kipnis won the Heart and Hustle Award and has been a nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson was born in 1981 in Blue Island. As a boy, he played shortstop in Little League.

He then played baseball and basketball at Thornton Fractional South High School. (He loved basketball, but ultimately had to go with the sport where he had the most talent and the best prospects.)

Granderson attended the University of Illinois – Chicago. A budding baseball star, he broke some school records. He was a 3rd round draft pick in 2002; he had just completed his junior year.

Granderson played in the minors for the Oneonta Tigers, Lakeland Tigers, and Erie Seawolves. His MLB debut came in 2004 when he was 23.

Jayson Werth

Jayson Werth, born in Springfield in 1979, was part of an athletic sports-loving family. His grandfather had been in the majors for 19 years and had retired less than a decade before Jayson's birth. His stepfather was also a big leaguer.

Werth was on some successful traveling teams. His stepdad built him a batting cage when he was eight.

Werth played at Glenwood High and was a first round draft pick in 1997. He made his debut in the majors in 2002 at age 23. He has played for several teams including the Dodgers, Phillies, and Nationals.

Tomorrow’s Ball Players in Illinois

There's now a batting cage in Werth's yard -- for the next generation. “If that’s what they want to do, great,” he says. “If they want to do something else, that’s fine, too (

Tomorrow’s ball players will need a love for the game and plenty of opportunity to play it. Kipnis, Granderson, and Werth all played youth ball.

There’s a lot a kid can learn through team sports – from losing as well as winning. “When you’re losing, you see what your team is made of," Granderson has said ( He also noted, "Our team goal is pretty simple … basically prepare ourselves to play for nine innings every day, every series, and against every opponent."

Kids can’t put all their effort into sports, though – even when racking up the wins and loving it. Granderson’s parents taught him education was important. Though he left college (for a while) to go pro, he did eventually complete his degree.

Granderson was the co-author of a juvenile book “Be All That You Can Be”.

Travel Baseball Teams in Illinois

Next Level Travel Baseball

  • Address: 10735 Wolf Drive
    Huntley, IL 60142
  • Phone: 847-627-0158
  • Email:
  • Contact: Mike Giovacchini
  • Website:
  • Ages: 11U, 12U, 14U, 15U
  • About Program:

    We are currently looking for a few players to round out our rosters for the 2018 season.

    Next Level Baseball is managed by former MLB pitcher, Juan Acevedo. Juan graduated from Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, Illinois, where as a senior he went 9-0 and still holds the school record for career winning percentage and winning percentage in a season. After high school, Juan attended Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois. He was drafted in 1992 by the Colorado Rockies in the 14th round. Juan also played for the Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays during his eight-year career. His 28 saves during his 2002 season for the Detroit Tigers, at the time was a record for a Mexican-born pitcher.

    Juan will rely on his own experiences of working hard in the game he loves to teach players how to become not only better baseball players, but also to become a better person. He has had the privilege to learn from some of the best that MLB had to offer - Hall of Fame managers Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre, Three time manager of the year and 2017 WBC USA champion manager Jim Leyland, Former manager of the year Don Zimmer and Don Baylor and former pitching coach Dave Duncan who currently is a special assitant for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Next Level teams range in age from 11U to 17U and currently play competitive baseball in the McHenry County Baseball League and will participate in select travel tournaments in and out state.

Teams are coming soon!

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