LaGrange MABL, 18+ Division
Brookfield White Sox 2, Stallions 0
The Brookfield White Sox, a perennial front runner in the La Grange 18+ MABL, started out slow in the beginning of the 2021 season with a record of 4-9. It took a while for the aging veteran core, along with some new young players, to knock off the rust from not having played since 2019 due to Covid. However, the White Sox came together as a team and went 8-3 in their final 11 games to win the La Grange MABL championship against their rival, the Brookfield Stallions, who had beaten the White Sox in the championship in 2019.
Despite the La Grange MABL being an 18+ league, the Brookfield White Sox are a veteran team, with some younger players sprinkled in the mix. The core players are an average of 33-38 years old, some of whom have played together for the past decade or longer. The two coaches, Al Ermitage and Charlie Schuenemann Sr. have been coaching together for the past 25 years!
The 2021 season had its ups and downs for the White Sox, mostly at the plate, but sometimes in the field and on the mound as well. However, the pitching and defense really solidified down the stretch and their bats got hot at the right time.
In the first round of playoffs, the White Sox scored a whopping 16 runs to beat the Red Angels, 16-8. In the second playoff game, they put up nine runs, which highlighted a clutch go-ahead three-run homer by Evan Charboneau (LF) in the eighth inning to beat the Stallions, 9-5. The offense continued to deliver for the White Sox as they beat another league rival, the Westchester Chargers, 12-2. It seemed like destiny that the White Sox would face off against the Stallions for the league championship again. This time they hoped to get revenge on their rival.
The White Sox fell short in the first game, losing to the Stallions, 10-5. In the second game, 38 -year-old veteran starting pitcher, Anthony Ermitage, threw six shutout innings, giving up only three hits, and completely stifled the Stallions offense. In the third inning, the White Sox capitalized on a couple of errors by the Stallions to score the first run of the game. Then in the sixth inning, the Sox number three hitter, Tommy Hickey (SS), got crafty and laid down an unexpected bunt for a base hit. Veteran hitter Casey Schuenemann (DH) was able to move Hickey to second base with a ground ball to third base. Then another key veteran, Angel Garcia, laced a single to left field to drive in a second run. That’s all the White Sox needed as 24-year-old pitcher Jack Hayes took over on the mound and shut down the opposition for the last three innings of the game and the White Sox beat the Stallions 2-0 to win the championship!
In addition to the dominant pitching, the defense was nearly flawless in this game, with outstanding plays made by shortstop Tommy Hickey and second baseman Kevin Fitzgerald, who together led the league in double plays turned on the season, as well as outstanding plays made by center fielder Bobby Gentile, who caught six fly balls in the game.
Along with the players previously mentioned, the White Sox received many key contributions throughout the regular season and playoffs from veterans Mike Kraus (1B), Travis Cox (LF), Ruben Olaguez (RF/P), Dan Ermitage (P), and Charlie Schuenemann Jr (P/RF). Newcomers Nico Rainieri (P), Liam Mireles (C), Max Uribe (P), Danny Rodriguez (RF), Ricky Raspberry (LF), Jailyn Jackson (P/2B), Enrique Trujillo (P/2B), and George Creviston (P) contributed in many ways as well. Though their season started out rough, perseverance, dedication, and teamwork allowed the Brookfield White Sox to win the 2021 La Grange MABL championship!