Lee County residents and visitors looking for some sports fun this spring will have plenty of chances to catch a baseball or softball game, as approximately 150 college teams come out to play in the 27th Annual Lee County Parks & Recreation Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic tournament.
The tournament will run from February 25 to March 25, featuring approximately 500 "spring break" games played among men’s and women’s Division III baseball and softball teams and NAIA softball teams.
“The Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic continues to provide the public and visitors to Lee County with an opportunity to watch quality Division III baseball and softball programs from around the Northeast and Midwest,” Jesse Lavender, acting deputy director of parks and recreation, said. “Lee County Parks & Recreation staff work diligently to provide this historic free admission tournament as an alternative to spring training.”
Named for former Aurora, Illinois, teacher, coach, principal, superintendent and administrator Gene Cusic, the annual event is a big deal for the Lee County community. In 2016, the tournament brought 3,800 visitors to the county and generated approximately 5,000 hotel room night stays. Overall, last year’s event had an estimated economic impact of $2.5 million.