A fund-raising effort will mean improved baseball fields for local youths.

The Crystal Lake Babe Ruth program raised $45,000 to better the fields at Lippold and Veteran Acres parks.CLBR

Justin Banasynski, president of Crystal Lake Babe Ruth, said the 56-year old baseball organization wants to improve local fields and rebuild its house leagues.

He said CLBR will join with the McHenry County Youth Sports Association to select companies to do the field work. The Youth Sports Association will use fields at the two parks for its International Summer Championships in late July and early August.

Renovation work will include putting grass along the first- and third-base lines at Veteran Acres and re-cutting the infield lips and improving the pitcher’s mounds at Lippold.

According to Banasynski, the Babe Ruth league has been working with Crystal Lake Little League Baseball for the past two years to create leagues and promote in-house tournament teams. The Little League now has a program similar to the Babe Ruth league in that it selects all-star teams for tournament play.

“The partnership has helped our numbers grow,” Banasynski told the Northwest Herald. “We’re at about 200 now. Having the tournament team gives players a little higher level of play.”

Banasynski views Crystal Lake Babe Ruth as an alternative for 13- to 15-year-olds who may not be serious travel players but still want to play baseball in the summer.

“The vast majority of our kids just want to have fun,” he said. “We offer an opportunity for kids regardless of their ability or financial status. It’s fun for us in the summer to see our kids play against each other for their high school teams, then turn around and play with each other in Babe Ruth.”

For information on the Crystal Lake Babe Ruth program, email


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