GARFIELD RIDGE — Next Stop: Wrigley Field.
"We have to meet by 5:15 p.m. at the Ernie Banks statue," said Mark Robinson, Clear Ridge Baseball's legendary manager. "We're going to be on the field."
Before the Cubs take on the Milwaukee Brewers in a 7:05 p.m. home game, the boys of Clear Ridge Baseball will take the field with their championship banner for an honorary moment on the Jumbotron.
On Aug. 6, in a title game broadcast on ESPN2 from Bangor, Maine, Clear Ridge beat Australia 7-2, marking the first time a team from Illinois has won the Senior League World Series in its 55-year history.
Clear Ridge entered the Senior League World Series double-elimination tournament representing the U.S. Central region. The team went 4-0 with wins over Australia, Spain, Puerto Rico and Virginia.
The historic championship run has brought the team a lot of attention all over the city. In Garfield Ridge, a Clear Ridge Baseball jersey is the mark of a celebrity.
"They're like little rock stars," said Robinson, who managed the team through a 16-0 regular season.
Clear Ridge Baseball’s World Series journey began more than a decade ago.
Most of the players have been teammates since they were four years old and playing tee ball at Valley Forge Park. In 2013, Clear Ridge went 0-4 in the Senior League World Series, but tough tournament play prepared Robinson for a return trip three years later.
The 16 players on Clear Ridge's roster all live in Garfield Ridge and attend Catholic high schools all over the South Side, including St. Laurence, St. Rita, De La Salle, Marist and Nazareth.
Since the big win in Bangor, Noah Miller, a junior outfielder who also plays ball at St. Laurence, feels a little taller.
"I feel a little bigger than everyone now," Miller said. 'Everybody knows who I am. So many people have come up to me to shake my hand and say congratulations."
Then it's on to Washington, D.C.
The team just found out they're going to the White House.
"It's awesome," Miller said.
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