This Wiki page was created to serve as a basic guide to Bloomington-Normal baseball. This page does not have information on the various softball leagues, but the leagues are very similar to each other. Bloomington-Normal has several opportunities for people of all ages to play and watch baseball. The twin cities has one professional baseball team, three collegiate level teams, five high school teams. The twin cities is very well known for it's rich baseball programs. Along with the teams stated before, there are still several opportunities for people to be involved.
The Normal Cornbelters are a new addition to Bloomington-Normal baseball. 2011 marked their second season as part of the independent Frontier League. Although considered professional baseball, these teams are not affiliated with Major League Baseball teams. Players and coaches are paid and most have some experience in minor league systems around the country. 2010 marked their first season and they had a record of 44-52. The Cornbelters play at the Corncrib, which is located on Raab road and is on the Heartland Community College campus. They also share the field with several Heartland athletics. The Corncrib offers several family fun opportunities such as concessions, a team store and of course Corny! Tickets are relatively cheap and can be bought online or can be bought at the gate. The Cornbelters offer the experience of professional baseball, but at an affordable price for families to enjoy. http://www.normalbaseball.com/team/aboutus/
Collegiate Level Teams
Bloomington-Normal has 4 colleges in town with 3 of them having a baseball program. The sizes of the programs vary on the size of the college.
Illinois State University
Illinois State Baseball has been around since 1887 and has been very successful. The Redbirds compete at a division 1 level in the NCAA. They have been a part of the Missouri Valley Conference for several years. Currently the Redbirds are coached by Mark Kingston and achieved a MCV regular season championship in 2010. This was the first time that ISU baseball has achieved this title. Other titles include winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournaments in 1994 and 2010. ISU baseball has seen 12 players be named all-Americans and several others who have made it to the Major Leagues. Currently the redbirds play at Duffy Bass field which is located on Gregory Street near University High School. The stadium seats 1,000 and has several restrooms and an open concessions area. In 2008, the stadium underwent a 3.2 million dollar renovation and makes it one of the premier Midwest venues for baseball. ISU baseball also offers several helpful baseball camps for anyone who wants to meet new people and work on their baseball skills for their future careers.http://www.goredbirds.com/sports/m-basebl/ilsu-m-basebl-body.html
Illinois Wesleyan University
Illinois Wesleyan baseball is known for being very successful throughout the years. Between 2000 and 2009 they were ranked 30th on the list of winningest division 3 baseball programs. Currently the head coach is Dennis Martel. The Titans recently finished their 2010 season with a record of 28-18. The Titans have appeared in the NCAA tournament 9 times since 1978 with a post season record of 21-18. In 2010, the Titans made it to and won the National Championship with an overall record of 31-21. The Titans play at Jack Horneberger Field and also host several baseball camps for kids of all ages.http://www.iwusports.com/index.aspx?path=baseball
Heartland Community College
Heartland Community College baseball is very new to Bloomington-Normal. Heartland has been around for about 20 years, but just recently started to support athletics. Heartland Hawk baseball began in 2008 and had a record of 37-15 in the first season. In 2012, they will begin their fifth season as a baseball program. Unlike ISU and IWU, Heartland competes with other Community and Junior colleges around the country. The Hawks have won the Mid-West Athletic Conference championship two years in a row and in 2011 qualified for the NJCAA D-2 World Series. Nate Metzger has been the head coach every year since 2008 and has compiled a 178-46-1 record. Most players only play for a few seasons before transferring to other colleges throughout the country. Heartland baseball's home field is currently the Corn Crib which is on the Heartland campus and is shared with the Cornbelters and other HCC athletic teams. Each summer Heartland baseball has several camps for kids from 4th to 12th grade. These camps will focus on hitting, defense and throwing as well as developing a love for the game. This is a very good opportunity for kids to hone their baseball skills and learn new things about baseball. http://www.heartland.edu/athletics/baseball/
High School Teams
Bloomington-Normal currently has 5 high schools that all have baseball programs. Each school has a freshman, junior varsity and varsity team that all compete with each other. Baseball is one of the few sports that all 5 intercity teams will compete with each other. Football for example, only has Bloomington, Normal West and Normal Community competing against each other. University High School and Central Catholic face each other, but not the other three schools.
Bloomington High School
Bloomington High School was founded in 1857 and is one of the oldest schools in the Bloomington-Normal area. Bloomington baseball has been around for several years and has been very successful in the programs long history. Bloomington currently competes in the Big-12 conference and has a rivalry with both NCWHS and NCHS. They have three 3 teams at the freshman, sophomore and varsity level. The current head coach is Steve Clapp who has been the coach for the past eight years. In 2011, the Raiders had a 24-14 record and won the regional championship. They also had 3 Big-12 All-Conference players in 2011. In the programs history, they have won the Big-12 conference 9 times and appeared in the state tournament 8 times. Howard Saar Field is the home field for Raider baseball and is located next to the BHS football field. http://www.district87.org/bhs/athletics/baseball/
Central Catholic High School
Central Catholic High School was opened in 1875 under Trinity High School. In 1968 they changed their name to Central Catholic and in 2003 moved to their current location on Airport Road. Although Central Catholic is mostly known as a catholic private school, they do have several sports including baseball. In 2011, Central Catholic had a 15-7 record and did not make it to the post season. Jeff Paul is currently the head baseball coach for the Saints. More information is currently not available for Central Catholic baseball. http://www.athletics2000.com/bcc/Team.aspx?sportgender=BASEBALL_B
Normal Community High School
Normal Community High School is a school well known for their very successful sports. Baseball is no exception to this. The Ironmen have a freshman, sophomore and varsity level baseball teams. Ironmen baseball currently competes in the Big-12 conference along with BHS and NCWHS. In their history, Ironmen baseball has been very successful with several conference championships and regional championships. Ironmen varsity is currently coached by Ryan Short and finished second in the Big-12 conference with a 9-2 record in 2011. Varsity baseball currently plays at the North baseball field at the Ironmen sports complex. They also have several summer baseball camps for kids of all ages. http://www.athletics2000.com/nchs/Sport.aspx?nav=r
Normal Community West High School
Normal Community West is the newest high school in Bloomington-Normal. The school opened in 1996 and has had baseball program ever since. In their 15 years as a baseball program, 7 players have gone on to play professional baseball in farm systems. The Wildcats have also won several Big-12 and regional championships and have had a winning record for all most all of the programs existence. Normal West also has 3 teams at the freshman, jv, and varsity levels. The varsity team is coached by Chris Hawkins who has led the Wildcats for many successful seasons. In 2011, the Wildcats finished with a 31-8 record and won the regional championships. They went on to play in the sectional championship, but eventually lost. The Wildcats varsity field is located on campus next to the football field. Summer baseball camps are also available and teach kids of all ages essential baseball skills. http://normalwestbaseball.com/
University High School
No information available.
So what if you are not old enough to play high school baseball? Don't worry, B-N offers leagues of baseball for all ages. There are several T ball leagues for young kids to get a start on playing baseball. Pony Leagues are pretty popular here in the twin cities. The Pony Leagues offer several levels for kids of all ages. BNBA is also a very good league to play in. Both leagues have similar structures and are great ways to play. Each league also fields several travel teams for kids who want to get a start on competitive baseball. The teams vary from elementary school kids to high school kids. For adults who love baseball there are a lot of opportunities. Although there really isn't an adult baseball league, you can still become a coach or join a recreational softball team. Although the slow pitch softball may not be the same as baseball, it allows for older adults to still have fun and play a sport that they love. As one can see, Bloomington-Normal is a very rich baseball town. No matter who you are, there is a baseball league out there for you in this great city.