The 14U Minooka Rivercats travel baseball team continued a strong summer by winning the championship of the Team Exposure Summer Slugfest Tournament in Bourbonnais. It was the fourth tournament championship of the season for the Rivercats.
In pool play on Saturday, Minooka ralled from an early two-run defecit to score 11 unanswered runs and defeat the Streator Spikes, 11-2. Caleb Parker went 2 for 2 with two RBIs. Frankie Hummel added two hits, including a double and an RBI, while Charlie Diiulio and Ryan Norman each had two RBI singles for Minooka. Mitch Thomas got the win with four innings of scoreless relief.
The Rivercats then cruised to an easy 10-1 victory over Mokena Blaze, as Dominic Calleros earned the win with four quality innings of relief, allowing only one run and striking out five. Mitch Thomas, Caleb Parker, Louie Johnson, and Frankie Hummel each had two hits and a combined five RBIs to lead the Minooka offense. Ivan Dahlberg added a two run single for the Rivercats, who finished pool play with a 2-0 record, allowing only three runs, and earned the No. 1 seed going into bracket play.
In the first game of bracket play Sunday, the Rivercats allowed a run to the Illinois Crush in the top of the first, but answered in a big way with nine runs in the bottom of the first en route to a 16-1 win. Nolan Larson got the win, allowing only two hits. Mitch Thomas and Sammy Warren each had two hits, while Charlie Diiulio racked up four RBIs. Larson also added a hit and two RBI. Matthew Medlin and Ryan Norman also had hits and RBI for the Rivercats.
In the semi-final, Charlie Diiulio started for Minooka and finished with three strikeouts, while earning the 16-4 win over Lincoln-Way Prospects. The Rivercat offense exploded for 12 hits, including a 3 for 3, three RBI performance by Diiulio. Frankie Hummel, Caleb Parker, and Ryan Norman all added two hits each and combined for six RBIs. Louie Johnson added three RBI for the 'Cats, who earned a spot in the title game
In the championship game, a shaky Rivercats defense allowed five unearned runs in the top of the first inning against the OC Thunder. Trailing by four and having only two hits going into the fifth, Dominick Calleros delivered an pinch-hit line drive single to right-center to spark a two-run rally for the Rivercats. After allowing another unearned run in the top of the sixth and trailing 6-3, Minooka rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game. With the game tied and into extra innings, Ryan Norman walked with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. Caleb Parker then crushed a long double to the gap in left center field, scoring Ryan Norman from first base for the winning run.
The Minooka offense was led by Ryan Norman with two hits and an RBI, Caleb Parker with a double and two RBIs, and Ivan Dahlberg with a hit and three RBIs. Ryan Norman started and pitched four strong innings with four strikeouts, while not allowing any earned runs. Frankie Hummel threw four innings of great relief, striking out eight and not allowing any earned runs.
American Legion tryouts: The Morris American Legion Post 294 baseball team will be holding tryouts for the 2019 season on July 23 at 6 p.m. at Roth Field in Morris. This is for junior division ages 15-17. Players cannot turn 17 until Jaunary 1, 2019. This is an excellent opportunity to play competitive baseball at an affordable price. American Legion baseball is very competitive and is usually formed from the towns' high school teams.