CHICAGO OAKS 12, SACRAMENTO NATIONALS 11

‘OAKS WIN FIRST FALL CLASSIC TITLE; DEDICATE WIN TO FALLEN TEAMMATE’

SUBMITTED BY CEDRIC COLLINS, OAKS MANAGER

THE CHICAGO OAKS DEFEATED THE SACRAMENTO NATIONALS 12-11 TO CAPTURE THE 50’s CENTRAL DIVISION FALL CLASSIC CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE GAME CONTEST, COMPLETE WITH DRAMA.

CATCHER JOHNNY COLON WAS NAMED MVP WITH SEVEN HITS IN THE TOURNAMENT AND CATCHING EVERY INNING.  THE SAME TEAMS MET IN THE ROUND ROBIN, RESULTING IN A TIE. 

THE OAKS HAD A ROUGH TIME IN THE ROUND ROBIN, AS WE COULD NOT PICK THE BALL UP THE FIRST COUPLE OF GAMES AND SHOULD HAVE WON OUR FIRST COUPLE OF GAMES.

THE TWO TEAMS MET FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP BY DEFAULT AS THE TOURNAMENT OFFICIALS NOTIFIED US AS THE GAME STARTED THAT TWO OTHER QUALIFYING TEAM COULD NOT FINISH THE WEEK.  SO, THE SEMI-FINAL GAME BECAME THE CHAMPIONSHIP, AND WE WERE THRILLED BECAUSE OUR GUYS WERE SORE AND EXHAUSTED.

THE OAKS JUMPED OUT TO A 2-0 LEAD ON AN RBI SINGLE BY FIRST BASEMAN RICK RUSSELLE. SACRAMENTO CAME BACK AND RESPONDED WITH FIVE RUNS IN THE BOTTOM OF THE FIRST INNING. THE OAKS SCORED THREE IN THE SECOND TO TIE THE GAME AND TOOK WHAT WAS AT THE TIME A COMMANDING 11-5 LEAD AFTER FIVE INNINGS. OAKS PITCHER BENJI HOLMES SETTLED DOWN AND PITCHED A STRONG 6 1/3 INNINGS. HE WAS RELIEVED BY ROD HARRIS WHO SUCKED UP A SORE GROIN AND ARM AND FINISHED THE GAME. THERE WAS DRAMA AT THE END AS THE NATIONALS SCORED FIVE IN THE SIXTH INNING TO MAKE THE SCORE 11-10 OAKS.

THAT SCORE REMAINED UNTIL THE TOP OF THE NINTH. WITH ONE OUT I WAS HIT BY A PITCH AND STOLE SECOND BASE AND SCORED ON A DOUBLE BY SECOND BASEMAN MELVIN BAILEY. IT WOULD BE THE WINNING INSURANCE RUN AS SACRAMENTO SCORED ONE RUN IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH. THE GAME ENDED WITH MEN ON FIRST AND SECOND AS A SLOW ROLLER TO THIRD BASE RESULTED IN A FORCE OUT TO END THE GAME.

THE OAKS CAME CLOSE LAST YEAR IN THE CENTRAL TITLE GAME AND DID NOT WANT IT TO HAPPEN AGAIN. THIS WAS OUR FIRST NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AND IT WAS DEDICATED TO A FALLEN TEAMMATE AND ILLINOIS STATE TROOPER GREG RIEVES, WHO WAS MURDERED EARLIER IN THE YEAR. THE GUYS WORE #24 PATCHES IN HIS HONOR AND I KNOW HE IS SMILING DOWN ON US SAYING “LET’S GET AT THESE CATS”

THE SACRAMENTO NATIONALS PLAYED VERY WELL AND ARE A CLASS ACT. TWO GAMES AND NO BICKERING BETWEEN TEAMS. WE HAD COVID AND OTHER INJURIES TO BALLPLAYERS THAT COULD NOT MAKE IT DOWN THIS YEAR, BUT WE PERSERVERED AND WON THE GOLD!