Cicero Pirates 8, Westmont Outlaws 1
Standing: Luis Resto, Joe Carbone, Anthony Cunniff, Chris Gonzalez, Eric Scheiner, Dan Bocian, Ray Castro, Jay Cunniff, Kevin Kucharcyk, Antonio Godinez, and Cory Blake. Kneeling: League President Chuck Mally, Eric Panek, Brian Mladek, Dan Pedretti, Hugo Munoz, Martin Solarzano, and Joe Pantoja. Not Pictured: Armand Gordon, Adam Sanchez, Jose Alanis, Andy Miller, Jake Stano, Oscar Rodriguez, and Vince Macias‘Pirates Continue Dominance in 2015’
Submitted by Ray Castro, Pirates manager
2015 was the 20 year Anniversary of the Cicero Pirates. The Pirates were established in the summer of 1996 as the Brookfield Pirates and was an original member of the 1996 inaugural season of the LaGrange MABL. It’s recently been a pretty good run, with the Pirates winning eight championships this last decade. 2015 brought the Pirates another successful year and a 3-peat in the LaGrange MABL. The Pirates have a long history of being an offensive juggernaut, but it was a seasoned pitching staff the guided the Pirates all year long.
The Pirates finished the regular season in third place with a 16-7 record. The regular season was a challenge with many key players coming down with injuries. Regaining some key players down the stretch the Pirates were healthy, but limped into the playoffs losing two of their last three games. The Pirates battled the Buddies in the opening round of the playoffs and came away with an ugly 9-3 win. Ray Castro scored three times but the key to the game was nine masterful innings pitched by Chris Gonzalez.
The second round found the Pirates battling the top seeded Westmont Outlaws and again coming away with a hard fought victory 7-5. Heading in to the top of the eighth and nursing a 2-1 lead, Ray Castro’s bases clearing double gave the Pirates a 5-1 lead that was never relinquished. Hugo Munoz pitched a hard fought 8 2/3 innings and closer Armand Gordon struck out the tying run to end the game. With a birth in the Championship game series on the line, the Pirates battled the #2 seed Brookfield Stallions and again came away victorious, 6-4. Dan Pedretti, Dan Bocian, Brian Mladek, and Corey Blake provided key hits but it was Anthony Cunniff’s complete game that stole the show.
The Championship series brought a rematch with their second round opponent, the Westmont Outlaws. The Pirates jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third inning afterJoe Pantoja doubled and scored on Dan Pedretti’s RBI single. The Outlaws took a 4-1 lead scoring two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, but the Pirates battled back in the bottom of the sixth using a lead-off single by Eric Panek, RBI double by Pedretti, and RBI singles from Mladek and Blake to tie the game 4-4.
The Outlaws roared back to take an 8-4 lead on a monster grand slam by Ryan Holley in the top of the seventh. The Pirates threatened in both the eighth and ninth innings but the Outlaws held on to win 8-4 and force a winner take all game 2. The Pirates jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a 2-run double from Bocian plating Pantoja and Panek.Pedretti’s bases clearing double in the second broke the game open and the Pirates cruised to an 8-1 victory.
The key to the victory was pitcher Hugo Munoz. Munoz, who pitched three shutout innings of relief in game one, came back, started game two, and gave up one run in four innings. Eric Scheiner pitched the last five innings in relief and dominated a tired Outlaws team who was playing their seventh game in eight days. Scheiner allowed only three hits while striking out six and allowing 0 runs.
The Cicero Pirates are a true dynasty winning 9 Championships (1999, 2006-2010, 2013-2015) and 3 runner-ups (2000, 2003, 2012) in the 20 year history of the LaGrange MABL.