Updated: July 31, 2021 10:59 PM
Created: July 31, 2021 10:52 PM
For 27 years Duluth 709 Baseball has played host to a tournament of traditions: the Art Von Memorial Tournament.
It honors the memory of Minnesota native Art Von, who was received a Purple Heart for his service in World War II. He then moved to Duluth, where he served as a little league coach, umpire, and administrator until he passed away in 1994 from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and End Stage Renal Disease.
Now his love of the game lives on through hundreds of young athletes.
"Being at our home fields, hosting this tournament, is just a great opportunity for us to grow and it helps all the players and coaches too," said Charlie Hayden, an 8th grader on Duluth 709.
54 teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and beyond will attend the three day event, which runs from July 30-August 1st.
The 9U to 14U matches are spread across five locations, including Duluth's Lake Park, home to Duluth 709.
Tournament director Seth Marsolek said it takes a village, and a lot of umpires, to make it all possible.
"It's challenging for sure, but we've got some good young guys we've been working with all year to try and teach and mentor," said Chad Clore, a chief umpire for Duluth. "We're trying to grow officials here at 709, and so thankfully that effort has paid off. We've got a good group of young umpires here."
Marsolek added, "there's 40 to 50 people every weekend like this that do the heavy lifting. It is very much a village and community effort, and one of the reasons I continue to volunteer my time here."
The tournament is also one of the biggest of its kind in the area. It wraps up on Sunday.
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