The West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) is partnering with Celebration Cinema to bring a new sport to West Michigan – and there’s a good chance you know very little about it.
Art Van Sports Complex Opens with Full First Season
Baseball season has begun across the country – and that will soon include West Michigan. We’ve just opened the new championship-caliber Art Van Sports Complex for its first full season of baseball and softball – and we’ve got an impressive lineup already!
Our season officially kicked off last weekend when the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) hosted a showcase event April 17 that drew approximately 140 girls from across Michigan. Last Saturday, Grandville High School played the first high school baseball double header on Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation Championship Field.
Tournaments All Season Long
Tournament season kicks off in full force this weekend with USSSA hosting the River City Global Qualifier April 25-26 with 50 baseball teams from around the state – beginning a stretch of 16 consecutive weekends of tourney play at the complex. A typical tournament showcases 50-60 teams for a three-day weekend, and several events are expected to exceed the 100-team mark! Another exciting tournament to watch for is the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) softball tournament April 29-May 1, featuring local teams from Davenport University, Aquinas College and Cornerstone University. What’s especially exciting about these tournaments is that they are all new events, and they are all pieces of sports tourism business that came to the area strictly because of the Art Van Sports Complex.
League Play for Youth and Adults
It’s not just tournaments that are coming to the Art Van Sports Complex – we have local leagues for youth and adults alike. The American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC) League for local 18-and-under travel teams has formed, bringing back a league that has long been part of the Grand Rapids landscape. The Grand Rapids Area Baseball League (GRABL) also is partnering with the AVSC to attract travel teams ages 13-16 to the complex for mid-week league games. High school fall baseball and softball leagues also will form in August, offering mid-week and weekend contests through the first week of October.
For adults, the AVSC will offer 10-week spring and late summer NSA-sanctioned slow-pitch softball leagues. The spring league will be a lighter schedule on Wednesday evenings April 20 through June 22, and a late summer/fall league run Mondays through Thursdays, August 3 through October 5. Teams have the option of playing 10 or 20 total games, including a tournament on week 10. Sign up for our leagues here. We will also offer a Co-ed Senior Softball League Tuesday mornings May through August. Men 55+ and women 50+ of all levels may sign up, and teams will be formed through a draft.
Other AVSC Event Highlights
But that’s not all! The Art Van Sports Complex is buzzing with more activities contributing the season’s 21 of 25 playable weekends being booked in 2015, including:
- West Michigan Miracle League season opener April 25 – the spring season runs to June 6, with games every Saturday except Memorial Day weekend on the Nate Hurwitz Field.
- Youth baseball tournament run by Game Day USA as part of the Meijer State Games - Summer Games, June 25-28. Registration is open, and since this is the first time the Summer Games baseball event will be held at the AVSC, it is expected to sell out quickly.
- Special Olympics Michigan event, Aug. 15
- Robert Kozminski Memorial Softball Tournament, Sept. 19
If you’re looking for some fun ball action this summer and fall, drop by the Art Van Sports Complex almost any weekend now through October to watch fields full of baseball and softball action. Or register yourself for one of the softball leagues!
It’s an exciting time for sports in West Michigan – and the Art Van Sports Complex is just one more feather in our cap as a sports destination. Check out our schedule online, and fit us into your 2015 plans. See you out there!
As we prepare for 2020, I’d like to take a moment to review 2019 – it was another great year for youth and amateur sports in West Michigan!
Art Van Sports Complex won bids to host the USA Softball Men’s Open East Fast Pitch and Class D Slow Pitch national tournaments in 2020 and 2021!