Colbert Park in Savoy will host four teams for the inaugural Champaign Beepball Tournament, July 10–11, 2021. Hosted by the National Beep Baseball Association and supported by the local Lions Clubs, the tournament is an adaptive version of baseball for the blind, low-vision, and legally blind.
Athletes from around the country will travel to Champaign County to compete, including the Indy Thunder, Chicago Comets, Gateway Arches, and South Georgia Copperheads. Games will play a round-robin schedule on Saturday, July 10, and the third-place and championship games will take place on Sunday, July 11.
The games are similar to baseball with some noted differences to accommodate the needs of the players. The second base is removed, while first and third bases are four-foot-high padded cylinders with speakers, giving off a continuous buzzing sound when activated. Each team fields a sighted pitcher and catcher, with specific rules for communicating the pitching of the ball. The balls emit a beeping sound, helping the team on the field play defense. A complete overview of the rules of Beep Baseball can be found on the NBBA website.
“We are excited to bring our brand of baseball to Champaign County. Beep baseball is a real eye opener for fans. In Beepball, we say silence is golden but applause is necessary,” states Tournament Director Darnell Booker.
“While we have hosted teams for Beep Baseball at Zahnd Park in Champaign in the past, this will be the first time we will have a championship tournament here,” explains Mike Koon, Director of Sports, Events, and Film for Visit Champaign County. “Our community is home to many adaptive sports thanks to the Paralympic Training Facility at the University of Illinois. We’re excited to expand adaptive sports in Champaign County and look forward to introducing this fascinating sport to the public.”
Games will be free and open to the public. The schedule for the weekend includes games at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 10, and 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 11.
For more information about the NBBA, visit them online at nbba.org.