The Brookfield-based Western Conference Babe Ruth All-Stars had their most successful season this summer in its 53-year history. With players from several surrounding suburbs on the assorted age-level teams, Western Conference captured two state championships at the 15-year-old and 16 to 18-year-old levels, as well as a runner-up finish at the 13-year-old level.
The 16 to 18-year-olds cruised through the state tournament in dominant fashion with a perfect 4-0 record, outscoring opponents by a 39-9 margin. In its opener, Western Conference edged Matteson 10-7 as Angelo Gabino (2-for-5, 2 RBIs), Danny Russell (2-for-3, RBI) and Kevin Garvey (3-for-3, 3B) led offensively.
Western Conference rocked South Holland 15-1 in its second game. Casey Scalise pitched a complete game, allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts. Matt Quintana (1-for-2, RBI) and Gabino (4-for-5, 3 RBI, 2 R) paced the offense.
Western Conference then swept Calumet City 11-1 and 5-0 to clinch the state title. Matt Nutley pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up one run on four hits with three punchouts, while Quintana threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. Jimmy Doherty (2-for-3, 2 RBIs) and Mike Prause (HR, RBI, 3 R) also contributed.
In the title-clinching contest, Tyler Campbell (5 IP, 3 H, 10 K) and Quintana (2 IP, 1 H, 3 K) shut down Calumet City’s bats, while Joe Duffy went 2-for-3 with a run scored to lead the offense.
Western Conference represented Illinois in the Ohio Valley Region where it advanced to Round 8, before being eliminated by Hammond, Ind.
15 year-olds also earn state crown
The 15-year-old Western Conference team also rolled through the state tournament with an undefeated record.
In Game 1, Western Conference held on for a 5-4 win against Downers Grove. Richie Gentile worked four innings allowing three runs with five strikeouts to pick up the win while Buster Sickel (3 IP, 1 R, 3 K) earned the save. Antonio Jimenez (2-for-2, 2 RBIs) led the offense.
Western Conference defeated LaGrange 12-4 in Game 2. Antonio Garcia earned the win striking out five over four innings. He also went 2-for-4 with three RBIs at the plate. Alex Pena (2-for-4) Asher Runyon-Randruut (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Johnny Minella (2-for-4, 2 RBI) led a balanced attack.
In Game 3, Western Conference overcame a three-run deficit in the first inning to rally for a 4-3 win against Lansing. Sickel worked four innings of scoreless relief, highlighted by four strikeouts, to notch the win. Runyon-Randruut (1-for-2, 2 SB) powered the offense.
Western Conference edged Homewood 5-2 in the championship game. Runyon-Randruut earned the complete-game win with no earned runs allowed and three strkeouts. Jimenez (2-for-2, RBI, R), Peter Caruso (1-2, RBI) and Glen Quinn (2-for-3, RBI) powered the bats.
The 15-year-olds also made the Round of 8, being eliminated by the host team, Marinette, Wis.