CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Youth leagues are in high gear around the Heartland with baseball and softball players hitting the field.
Having a child involved with sports is becoming more and more of a full-time commitment.
Spending a long evening under the lights may seem like a calming thought, but for parents with kids in summer sports leagues, they may spend the majority of their nights camped out behind home plate.
It's not just baseball or summer sports that require extra time, money and dedication.
Parents say they spend at least three to four nights a week at either practice or a game; and most weekends their whole family is hitting the road, traveling to the next tournament.
All of that comes at a big cost starting at a young age, but for them the expense is worth it for the experience.
"We're staying two, maybe three nights down here," said Ace Echoff, assistant coach and baseball dad. "Obviously eating out and so forth. And just traveling, getting into tournaments. A tournament costs anywhere from $150 to $400 to get your kids into a tournament."
"It's very expensive, but we're fortunate to have parents who do a lot of fundraising, and local businesses in the area are really awesome," said baseball dad Tommy Brogan.
Some parents say they typically travel between 30 minutes to two hours for away games or out of town tournaments.
It becomes a mini family vacation, which is good, because most families also plan their summer vacations around the sports schedule.
Kids hope to hit it out of the park at the Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth League.
That tournament lasts four days and then parents are off to the next tournament to support their kids and encourage their dreams despite the cost.