Support Finland this weekendThis weekend a familiar sound will fill Finland’s forest. No, it will not be the sounds of the wild, but rather that of locals cheering on their favorite team in the Finland Firemen’s Softball Tournament.
By: Matt Suoja, Lake County News Chronicle
This weekend a familiar sound will fill Finland’s forest.
No, it will not be the sounds of the wild, but rather that of locals cheering on their favorite team in the Finland Firemen’s Softball Tournament.
The tournament, in its 25th year, will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 18 and Sunday July 19, at Finland’s Recreation Hall Field.
“A lot of people in the community help out,” said tournament founder Ron VanBergen.
Jim Sinderman, co-director for the tournament, echoed a similar tone.
“I have to give credit to the community,” he said, adding that local businesses are also instrumental in helping the tournament, which usually consists of 10 men’s teams.
The event’s cause is the Finland Fire Department. It helps raise money for maintaining the truck and getting new hoses, among other things.
During the initial phases of the event, Sinderman said they raised between $700 and $800, while now it can range from $950 to $1,300.
Concession stands are also there to raise money.
“People spend an hour on the grill or at the concession stand grilling,” Sinderman said about the volunteers.
The volunteers, or those who are interested in just watching, can see all the softball action from a couple of vantage points.
“There’s a grandstand or you can get shade under a jackpine,” VanBergen said.
Fans will also be watching one of lost arts of the game.
The teams must all use wooden bats, which was a rule implemented in 2002.
VanBergen said one of the reasons for changing to wooden bats is safety. He also said their park is smaller, which means more home runs for aluminum bat users.
To go along with the tournament, there will be a sawdust pile digging contest where kids can search for coins in the particles of wood. It will be held at noon Saturday.