EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Wednesday was opening day for the annual St. Jude Brad Wallin Memorial Tournament. For more than 15 years baseball teams across Illinois participate in the tournament. The namesake of the tournament played baseball but lost his battle with cancer at the age of 11.

“It’s a really good opportunity for coaches and families to build something more than baseball with the kids,” said Coach Beau Feuchter, Dunlap Eagles 9U.

This year all the Dunlap teams are sporting Team Tessa jerseys. Tessa Sutton was a 17-year-old Dunlap High School student who died from cancer in March.

Richole Ogburn, parent to a Dunlap Eagle, said the community has doubled down on supporting the Sutton family.

“So our team has, not just our team but our community has rallied around her family to support them,” said Ogburn

Wearing the jerseys in memory of Tessa while playing a sport they love gives the players a sense of purpose.

“They see the message, they see the name and it brings a little of more purpose to throwing it on. The kids are excited. Some fresh colors and again, bigger than baseball. So, we’re just keeping the Sutton family in our hearts as well as the Brad Wallin family,” said Feuchter.

The last day of the tournament is June 4. To date, the tournament has raised over $1.4 million for St. Jude.