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Champs celebrate title

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Updated: August 27, 2013 12:38PM



CROWN POINT — While the team was getting ready to climb to the top of the aerial fire engine the lights started going on at the field. The 2013 Cal Ripken U12 World Series Champions were coming home.

The sirens screamed and the square was bathed in the orange-blue moon that was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds as the returning heroes went on their turn around the square. It is the ride of champions in the city of Crown Point.

As fans were screaming around the square as they passed by them, the score board was lighting up to the final stats from the final game.

Crown Point was the visiting team. The score board reflected that the Crown Point Bulldogs were down and the Kingsbridge, N.Y. team was up 4-3. Then it was all Crown Point with a final score of Crown Point 5, Kingsbridge 4. Inning by inning was on the scoreboard.

The sound system was playing “We are the Champions.” Then the fire engine turned west on North Street as fans rushed into the city stadium. Parents, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, brothers and sisters, neighbors and fans were filling the stadium. The mayor was the first to hit the field and get on the stage at the pitcher’s mound.

Mayor Dave Uran was acting as MC as well as cheerleader. He asked the crowd, “How we doing CP?”

He got the result he wanted. The noise level grew and grew. Microphone in hand he got the music to restart and asked the team to come out onto the field as “We are the Champions” played even louder than before.

The 14 team members received a standing ovation. The team consists of Kyle Bauner, Marek Bauner, Luke Bianco, Nicholas Geisen, Kyle Gilmack, Sammy Krutz, Alec Matalin, Kenny Michaels, Christian Paris, Ryder Rex, Logan Ryan, Jacob Schalasky and Joshua Suslowicz. The manager is Bob Bauner with his coaching staff of Mike Bauner, Larry Geisen, Chris Krutz and John Paris. The diamond girl is Mel Godvolt. The league president is Dave Hanaway.

The team has won five consecutive years of State Championships, according to Uran. They had to beat a team from New York to bring the World Series Trophy back to Crown Point.

Uran told the team that whatever they do in the future, they will always be able to play back the memories of this team.

Bob Bauner said that he usually is only talking to 18 people, just his team and his coaches, so he was a little nervous. “Five years ago I knew that I had something great. They always tried their hardest and never gave up,” he said, adding, “These Crown Point Bulldogs from Crown Point, Indiana were the last ones standing.”

To say that the manager was and is proud of all of his boys is an understatement.

“Look in the dictionary and find the word ‘team.’ These guys picture should be there,” Bauner said.

His parting comments were what he told the team all the time, “Be humble, respectful and kind.”

He told the parents, “We might not have always have had the best team on paper, but when the music started these guys were ready to dance.”

He told his team that next year he will be on the other side of the fence with them. “What a way to go out,” he added.

Bauner started his career learning how to be a baseball manager by reading a book. The first coach to work for him was a young Curt Graves.

Uran told the kids and their parents to mark their calendars for the first Saturday in May. They will be needed on opening day of the Cal Ripken season next year even if they will no longer be able to play. They and their coaches will need to be there to receive their World Series rings in front of all the 2014 players.

Alec Matalin presented the mayor with the poster for city hall they had made. All of the players on this team are pictured on that poster.

Linda and Ron Rex were there to enjoy their grandson Ryder. They went to every game and so did his great grandparents.

“You don’t win by one run unless you are a team,” said Linda.

Men like Jeff Chariton were there with his two little children, celebrating the team. He was there as a friend, and so was high school principal Chip Pettit. They both remember playing on that same field, to different levels of success, but always with the enjoyment of the game.



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