CHICAGO (CBS) — Gurnee parents whose boys play travel baseball might be out $3,000, and the boys might have lost a chance to play this season.
The boys play for the Lakeside Legends program, and their parents said the facility where they operate out of unexpectedly closed its doors.
Jeff Newton’s son is a freshman at Warren Township High School, and has aspirations of playing baseball in college. The indoor batting cages at BatSpeed Academy helped him keep in shape over the winter, but as the Lakeside Legends get ready for games to start in June, the season is in jeopardy, because the facility has shut down.
“There was a sign when I drove up there this [Saturday] morning that was just a hand-written note that said ‘closed,’ and there was no other information given,” Newton said.
According to Newton, the owner told employees they’re done. That would force out four travel baseball leagues under the Lakeside Legends name.
Newton said there has been talk for some time that BatSpeed Academy could be forced to close, but not like this.
“The abruptness of it, I don’t think anyone ever saw something like this coming,” he said.
Some players had been using the batting cages as recently as Friday. On Saturday, the owner had unexpected news, Newton said.
“From what we’ve been told, he walked into the academy and told the two gentlemen that were working there that the facility was closed permanently,” he said.
Families pay about $3,000 per year to participate in the leagues, and Newton said parents have heard nothing from the owners, leaving a lot of uncertainty at a time in the young men’s lives.
The Legends have four teams, with 15 to 16 boys on each team.
Mark Mcquade the owner of Triple Play in Antioch is just one of many offering to pitch in and help.
“I’ve got some people who have volunteered to coach for free,” Mcquade said.
Mcquade said he knows how tough this is on the kids.
“For some of these kids baseball is there life,” he said.
With coaches and clubs coming forward to help, the remaining need right now is money for uniforms and tournament costs.
CBS 2 tried reaching out to the owner listed on the webpage, Scott Czerniejweski, but got no reply.