Pinto 8U International Baseball Classic kicks off in Marion

The future of baseball is competing in Marion all weekend long. The young all stars are playing in the Pinto Under Eight International Baseball Classic
Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 5:09 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2023 at 5:19 PM CDT
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MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - The future of baseball is competing in Marion all weekend long. The young all-stars are playing in the Pinto Under 8 International Baseball Classic.

21 teams are slugging it out in the Pinto International Baseball classic in Marion this weekend, starting on July 7.

Five of those teams, made up of 7 and 8-year-olds, are international including Japan, Aruba, Bonaire, Dominican Republic and Curaçao. Gotham Griffidh, the Curaçao coach, said his team was excited to returned after winning the Baseball Classic last year.

“We’re very excited, we came last year, we won the baseball classic so we are here to defend our title,” said Griffidh.

The Curacao team traveled more than 2100 miles. Their coach said it’s an honor to be here.

“What we enjoy the most are those local teams. They’re so excited to play against us, it doesn’t matter if they win or they lose. It’s a very joyful game, the kids are enjoying it,” said Griffidh.

Jason Mitchell, Coach for Marion SI Select All Stars, said it’s an experience of a lifetime to play in their hometown ballpark.

“It’s great for these young kids to experience all these teams, international and local, the excitement is phenomenal and seeing them walk in this ballpark with a big smile on their face just excited to play the game, that’s everything,” said Mitchell.

The city of Marion is also happy to host the baseball classic for the 3rd time. Rachel Stroud, Communications/Marketing Director City of Marion, said it’s a major economic boom for the city.

“This is such a fun event to get to welcome to our town, this is awesome for businesses that get to host these athletes in their restaurants and to shop and to fuel up and of course for the hotels, we’ve got I think almost every bed in Williamson County right now full,” said Stroud.

Griffidh said some of these kids may be the future of baseball.

“And maybe, you never know, maybe in a few years we will see a few of them or all of them in the MLB. It would be an honor for me to say ‘hey you see that guy, I coached him 10-20 years ago.’ So I hope,” said Griffidh.

Tickets for the event are just $5. The tournament will continue through Sunday, July 9.