The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Fans, Family Celebrate Clear Ridge Baseball Senior League World Series Win

By Evan F. Moore | August 13, 2016 5:33pm | Updated on August 15, 2016 8:27am
 Clear Ridge Baseball was the first team in state history to win the Senior League World Series.
Clear Ridge baseball champs
View Full Caption

GARFIELD RIDGE — After winning the Senior League World Series, the Clear Ridge Baseball team was given a hero's welcome during a rally at their home field in Hale Park Saturday. 

Fans, parents of the players, community members, and local elected officials came out the congratulate the winning team. 

Adam Rush, the president of Clear Ridge Baseball and Softball, thanked the crowd assembled for their support. 

"Seeing how excited the players and the parents were was an experience I will never forget," Rush said. "Through hard work and determination, these players were able to achieve the ultimate goal in winning a World Series championship."

A letter was read from former Clear Ridge player and Cubs radio broadcaster Ron Coomer.

"I am so proud of you guys. You represented Illinois, the City of Chicago and our neighborhood well," Coomer wrote. "Just remember, you never know where baseball will take you. I'm looking forward to meeting you next week at Wrigley Field."

After beating Australia 7-2, Clear Ridge became the first team in Illinois history to win the Senior League World Series in its 55-year history. 

 Clear Ridge Baseball was the first team in state history to win the Senior League World Series.
Clear Ridge Baseball was the first team in state history to win the Senior League World Series.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Evan F. Moore

The players on Clear Ridge's roster all live in Garfield Ridge and attend Catholic high schools all over the South Side, such as St. Laurence, St. Rita, De La Salle, Marist and Nazareth.

"This team came together because of the moms. Between travel ball and high school ball, it was hard to get the team together," said Robert Lopez, father of team member Julian Lopez.

"Some days, they played 2 and 3 games just to make it this far. This has been an amazing journey. All of the families in this area stuck together," Lopez added.

Garfield Ridge resident Pattie McIntyre, mother of Mike Skoraczewski, was one of the moms Lopez was speaking of. She told DNAinfo that it was tough to get the team together due to the boys demanding schedules.

"I knew which kids we needed to get on board to make this happen. We got the commitments and the team was on fire," McIntyre said. "They are all best friends. For them to play together again, it was a great experience."

McIntyre said the community rallied around the boys.

"They kept calling them 'The Dream Team.' Clear Ridge Baseball has been a part of my life for 35 years," McIntyre said. "It was awesome to hear from all of the people from the past and on Facebook who've never forgotten where they came from."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended Saturday's rally. He issued a statement congratulating Clear Ridge on their World Series win. 

“On behalf of the City of Chicago, I’d like to congratulate the Clear Ridge baseball team on blazing through the competition and becoming the first Illinois team to ever win the Senior League World Series,” Emanuel said. “These athletes have shown the world how the children of Chicago can come together to achieve greatness, and have added another exciting chapter to Chicago’s rich baseball history.”

The festivities wrapped up as each team member spoke to the crowd, thanking them for their support along the way. A montage was also shown on a video board at the rally of the team's World Series run.

"I'm just really grateful for this experience and we couldn't have done it without the people here," said infielder/pitcher Gage Olszak. "We couldn't have done it without our parents and our teammates."

Team manager Mark Robinson echoed Olszak's sentiments on how important the Garfield Ridge community was to the World Series win. 

"They've been playing with each other since they were 6 years old and have formed special bonds, not only with other players on the team, but with their families and their community as well," Robinson said. "I know this means a lot for the Clearing and Garfield Ridge areas, and I'm just glad that I was able to be a part of the journey."

Although the championship festivities were celebratory, some in attendance chided Emanuel for attending the rally and the perceived lack of media coverage. 

A woman, who did not want to be named and claimed to be the grandmother of one the Clear Ridge players, told DNAinfo that the team should have gotten the same amount of media coverage Jackie Robinson West received. 

"The mayor shouldn't be here. These kids have been together since they were seven years old and we have been snubbed by our own city. Every game they [Jackie Robinson West] played was on TV. We got an ESPN Saturday game," the woman said. "Everyone else had their stuff handed to them. We had to buy our own things."

Another woman wearing a Clear Ridge Baseball World Series Champions t-shirt walked by and echoed the grandmother's sentiment.

"We didn't get anything. Our kids didn't get a trip to the White House, a trip to Disney World, or free airfare," the woman said. "There's not going to be an issue with this kid came from here, or this kid came from there. Everybody lives here." 

Clear Ridge Baseball finished the regular season 16-0.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: