ESAA Thunder Information


Mission Statement

The mission of ESAA's Thunder Baseball Program is to provide an opportunity for ESAA players to compete at a higher level of competition. We aim to develop players that will participate at the high school level and beyond. We are committed to continuing the strong sense of community that is the hallmark of ESAA. We believe we offer a very competitively priced travel baseball program, largely due to the generosity of the coaches in donating their valuable time.

Program Description:
Thunder is ESAA’s community based travel program 8u-14u.  Thunder players, 8U-12U(11B&12B team), are required to play in ESAA’s house league program, with the exception of 11 & 12U Gold due to their game schedule.  Thunder teams play against teams in the LSFBL and MSBL.  Typically, the season starts mid- May and ends late-July.  The regular season is 14-18 games, half home and half away.  Communities in LSFBL and MSBL are in the North/Northwest/West suburbs.  Thunder teams play against primarily full-time travel teams in the Mid-Suburban Baseball League (MSBL).  Typically, the season starts mid-April and ends early-July.  The regular season is 18-22 games, half home and half away.  Communities in MSBL are in the Northwest, West and Southwest suburbs.  Games are on the weekdays and weekends, typically two a week. An A and a B team are formed for 9U-14U, with the 8U team fielding two equally-weighted teams. All 12u teams will go to Cooperstown Tournament in middle of summer.

Tryouts: These are held late July til September. We hire independent judges to keep the evaluation objective and consistent. All participants at every age will undergo drills that evaluate the five basic skill sets: Infield, Outfield, Base-running, Batting, and Pitching (optional).  House league evaluations are factored in to the overall Thunder Tryout score.

Coaches: Coaches are chosen after the team’s players have been chosen. So are paid coaches and some parent volunteers. They have final say in final rosters(with approval of Thunder commissioners).

Birth date cutoff:  We use the MSBL’s birthdate cutoff (May 1st).  As a general rule, we do not allow for players to ‘play up’. We would not allow a new travel player to play up. Just their travel age.

Cost:  Ranges from $500-1,400 depending on the type of uniforms ordered, # of tournaments entered, and off season training.  A  non-refundable deposit of $500 will be required.  100% of budgeted fees are due by March 1st. If the fees are not collected by April 1st then a possible suspension of player can incur.

Rosters:  When selecting teams a minimum of 11 players and a maximum 13 players may rostered(Older ages excluded).

Family/Player commitment: Players who are chosen for a Thunder team, must understand and commit to a teams schedule. Off season workouts and practices are as important as games. We understand our players play other travel or school sports, but we ask after March 1st, they are 100% committed to Travel baseball. If players do not co-operate with the team decision their can be a removal from the team. 

Tournaments:  Historically, teams average 2-4 tournaments(GOLD TEAMS do play more) per year in addition to the League schedule.

10 ways to succeed as a Thunder player: 1. Be On Time 2. Show Up & Do the Work 3. Give Your Best 4. Be Positively Contagious 5. Have an Attitude of Gratitude 6. Seek Solutions 7. Have Passion 8. Be Coachable 9. Do More Than What’s Required 10. Believe in Yourself

Thunder has its own all seasons training facility, with professional coaches and top training equipment.

See more at

Download the Thunder Registration Form.


Program Achievements

2009:  10yr old Park Ridge Memorial Day Tournament Champions

2010:  11yr old Horner Park Summer Slam Champions

2010:  11yr old North Shore Baseball League Champions

2011:  12yr old Westdale Heat Tournament Champions

2012:  8yr old Lake Shore Feeder Baseball League Champions

2013:    8yr old Lake Shore Feeder Baseball League Champions

2013:    11yr old Lake Shore Feeder Baseball League Champions

2013:    10yr old Park Ridge Summer Sizzler Tournament Champions

2014:    8yr old Lincolnshire Summer Slam Champions

2014:  10yr old  KWBA Memorial Day Bulldog Classic - Champions 

2015    11U    Experience The Turf Tournament    Champions

2015    11U    Barrington Summer Classic    Champions

2015    11U    Honorable Mention in Illinois/Wisconsin State Rankings by Amateur Baseball Report

2015    9U    Mid Suburban Baseball League 2nd place

2015    8U    Lake Shore Feeder Baseball League Champions

2016    8U    Lake Shore Feeder Baseball League Champions

2017    9U   Gold Rosemont Dome Invitational Champions

2017    9U  Gold  Crown Point GAME Day USA Pre-Season Tournament  Champions

2017   11U Gold and 10U Gold Battle for the Border Game day USA  Champions

2017   9U  Blue Lake Forest Tournament Champions

2017   9U  Blue Team MSBL Champions 

2018   10u Gold   St. Patty's day Fling Champions

2018   11u Gold Gameday Usa Crown Point Indiana “The Best of the Best” Gold series Champion.

2118   12u Gold Gameday USA “Battle of the Boarder “ Champions

2018   10u Gold  USSSA Turf Classic Champions


2018   8u-2 Lincolnshire Champions

2018   8u-2 LSFBL Championship 

2018   11u & 10u Gold MSBL A Division runner-ups

2019   13u Blue  Champions Vernon Hills B Bash

2019      13u  Gold MSBL Elite Champions

2019    11u Gold MSBL Elite division regular season Champions

2019    12u Gold Dreams Park Cooperstown #1 seed

2020    12u Gold USSSA AAA  Champoinships Finalist

2020    11u Gold LSFBL Champions

2020     8u-2 Lsfbl Champions

2020    12u White Lsfbl Champions

2020     14u MSBL Champions

2021    13u Gold GameDay Turf wars Finalist

2021    13u Gold Seminole Mccaslin Classic Finalist

2021     Baseball Connected "Top Ten Travel Pragrams" Honorable Mention

2021     13u White "King of Turf " Usssa Finalist

2021     13u White "The Rock" Cream City Classic Champions

2021     11u Gold   SouthSide Silver showdown Champs

2021     13u Gold  GAMEDAY "TURF WAR 2" Champions

2023      11u GOLD  Ripken Old Kentucky Classic Champions

Questions?: Please contact FRANK PHILLIPS



ESAA Travel Baseball Chicago