Full Community Effort Helps Put on 27th Annual Art Von Youth Baseball Tournament
After getting canceled last year, the Art Von Tournament, the largest youth baseball tournament in the Northland, is back at it again, bringing in over 50 teams from across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
DULUTH, Minn. – After getting canceled last year, the Art Von Tournament, the largest youth baseball tournament in the Northland, is back at it again, bringing in over 50 teams from across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
“Everyone kind of thinks of this as their state championship in Northern Minnesota and really looks forward to playing up here in August,” 709 baseball coach Ryan Grumdahl said.
The tournament is in honor of Art Von, who started little league in Duluth in 1959 and in its 27th year, continues to be a popular event for teams and spectators.
“It’s a culmination of all of the hard work that the boys put on all season long playing the game of baseball and it’s kind of a year end event that we all get these teams together and kids together and it shows all of their hard work and dedication to the game,” Grumdahl added.
The tournament is pool play for the first two days and then championships take place on Sunday.
“I’ve been looking forward to it a lot, this is the tournament that my team wants to win the most. We play against a lot of our friends in this tournament that’s around here so it’s one of the tournaments that we’d love to win,” Solon Springs native and War Eagles 13U player Brody Carlson said.
“I like that it’s so many teams that I know like the War Eagles and Proctor and Cloquet all teams from around Duluth and they come together and they play and it’s just really fun to play against your friends,” 709 baseball player Alden Marsolek added.
The money raised from the weekend goes back to helping youth baseball in Duluth, including one major project each year.
“This year we built a very large state of the art outdoor batting cage facility which everyone is just loving it. With real turf, we can use it all but a few months during the winter,” Grumdahl said.
And to put on an event that draws thousands, it takes the entire community.
“It’s kind of stressful but when you see it all work together, it’s just the best feeling. Seeing the smiling faces when they come up to the concession stand and you know you really worked hard to get it working but it’s going well and it’s the best feeling,” concessions worker Alexandra Niska said, who competed in the tournament when she was younger.
“It’s really special to see everyone come together and put on such a great event,” Grumdahl added.
And even the players stick around to watch the rest of the games going on at the Lake Park Fields.
“It’s your home field. At other tournaments, you have to go home after your game but you get to watch all of the games here and get to watch all of your friends play against your other friends,” Marsolek said.
“It’s so big and you just feel like you’re part of something so cool,” Niska added.
To Art Von Tournament continues through Sunday at the Lake Park Fields. To learn more, visit their website.