As schools release for the summer and the prep sports seasons conclude, there isn't much rest for local athletes.
The summer sports season in the Greater Alton area has already begun. The Metro East Bears, which are sponsored by Alton American Legion Post 126 and Edwardsville American Legion Post 199, are comprised of Alton, Civic Memorial, Edwardsville and Roxana players. It is the second year for the combination squad, which plays in District 22.
As an added bonus the Post 126/Post 199 team will play host to the Great Lakes Regional Tournament on Aug. 5-9 at Lloyd Hopkins Field inside Gordon Moore Park. As the host team, the Bears get an automatic bid into the tournament. They play their home games at Hopkins Field.
But while Metro East prepares for Legion's big stage there will be two other Greater Alton area baseball teams taking to the diamond, too.
Roxana has an American Legion team playing independently and filled with players from Roxana, East Alton-Wood River, Bethalto and Piasa Southwestern. Home contests are played at Roxana High School. They go by the moniker Twin City and are sponsored by South Roxana American Legion Post 1167.
Civic Memorial is fielding a team in the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Association (SLABA). The 17U Eagles are compiled strictly of CM players and play their games at the Bethalto Sports Complex.
Of course when you're talking about summer sports success in the area you can't leave out the Summers-Port Sharks. The Sharks kicked off their summer campaign on June 11 with an impressive 494-189 win over Splash City out of Collinsville.
Summers-Port dominates the summer swim season. It has won the Southwestern Illinois Swim Association (SWISA) championship for 22 years straight and winning No. 23 seems a safe bet.
The SWISA Dive Championships are on July 18 at Summers-Port, while the SWISA Swim Championships are scheduled for July 19 at Paddlers Swim Club in Granite City.
Heading out on the links, there are some longstanding golf tournaments that draw attention in the Greater Alton area over the summer. The Greater Godfrey Open is upon us, set for Saturday and Sunday at Rolling Hills Golf Course in Godfrey.
The 36-hole medal play championship tournament includes four flighted divisions (Open, Senior, Ladies and Junior). It has a shotgun start at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and tee times beginning at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
The other big tournament of the summer, the annual Gold Medal Tournament, is scheduled for Aug. 1-2 at Rock Spring Golf Course in Alton. It marks the 62nd edition of the Gold Medal and it has an illustrious tradition. Applications are available now at the golf shop and you can call Rock Spring at (618) 465-9898.
On the tennis courts, the Bud Simpson Open is almost here. The 33rd edition of the annual tennis affair is set for June 26-28 at Lewis and Clark Community College. There will be over $1,500 in prize money distributed to the Men's and Women's Open singles and doubles divisions.
The Men's Open singles champion and the Men's Open doubles champions earn the biggest honor, by advancing as wild cards to the Godfrey Pro Classic scheduled for July 17-26 at LCCC. That is a USTA Futures event. It's the 11th oldest men's pro circuit tournament in the country. The purse money is up from $10,000 to $15,000 this year.
The Bud Simpson Open will also feature 35s, 45s and 55s age divisions as well as mixed doubles. Some of the early rounds will be played at Alton High School. Remaining play will be conducted at the Andy Simpson Tennis Complex at LCCC.
The tournament is conducted by the Alton Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with the Simpson Memorial Tennis Program. For additional information visit www.simpsontennis.org/tournament, or contact tournament director Chris Logan at (618) 798-1818. The entry deadline is June 22 at midnight.
Watch for plenty of other fun local sporting events through the summer with local little league baseball and softball games, as well as the annual ASA co-ed slow pitch softball state tournament at Gordon Moore Park on Aug. 14-16.
There is plenty of fun in the sun for the Greater Alton area this summer.