It’s been an exciting season for Little Leaguers in Lansing with more good times to come. At the conclusion of the regular season, teams of players were selected for an All-Star Tournament. The kids did a tremendous job and four of the Lansing tournament teams won championship games.
The Lansing 9-year-old team defeated Munster and Dyer to get to the championship where they won against the East Side. The 11-year-olds beat Hegewisch, the East Side and Crown Point to make it to the championship where they won against the East Side. The 12-year-olds beat South Holland and Calumet City to take the title and the 10-year-olds also beat out South Holland to win their tournament title. The 8-year-olds got so close, by beating Highland and Hegewisch to get into the championship game where they lost 2-1 to Highland. The 7-year-olds also put up a good fight, but were defeated.
The Lansing Babe Ruth team, which is made up of 16-, 17- and 18 year-olds won the Northern Illinois Senior Babe Ruth State Championship for the second year in a row. Last year the team advanced to the World Series, but unfortunately this time they were defeated by Fern Creek, Ky., in the Ohio Valley Regional Tournament. Rick Seymour, who is the president of Lansing Babe Ruth/Lansing Redbirds said that the 17- and 18-year-olds who played this year have won a combined total of eight state championships.
As if all these state titles weren’t enough good news, one of T.F. South High School’s most beloved graduates, New York Yankees’ center fielder Curtis Granderson, has plans to reward some of the kids who worked hard this season and to help continue interest in baseball into the teen years when a lot of kids quit playing the sport.
Granderson is hosting a group of Little Leaguers at Monday's game at U.S. Cellular Field where the White Sox will play the Yankees. According to Seymour, Granderson is supplying a bus for more than 30 kids and about 15 chaperones to the game, where they’ll get to chat with Granderson before the game in the media room and then enjoy a patio party with lots of good ballpark food and a great view of batting practice before taking in the game.
“Each Little League manager was asked to select two or three kids from their team that showed dedication, loyalty and passion for the game. They are kids who did not make the district all-star team, but who really love baseball,” he said. “Curtis wanted to reward those kids. They’re the ones you want to make sure come back. He’s very concerned about the numbers dropping in Lynwood and Lansing and wants to spark interest in playing.”
After the Yankees finish up their series against the White Sox, Granderson will be in Lansing where those kids who were treated to a Major League game will play a game of their own with Curtis there to cheer them on.
“This was an idea of him and his parents for trying to get kids involved in baseball,” said Ken Reynolds, vice president of Lansing Babe Ruth/Redbirds and former coach of Granderson’s at T.F. South High School. “He continues to show his dedication, not forgetting the towns of Lynwood and Lansing where he came from. This is to shine a spotlight on those kids who didn’t make the traditional all-stars, but worked hard. Hopefully they’ll come back next year and bring a friend or two to play.”
This year, in part due to the lack of registered players, Lynwood wasn’t able to host a Little League. Those interested players were able to play on Lansing teams and the hope is that next year there will be enough participation for Lynwood’s Little League to return.
Final Ridge Road Cruise Night of season is Saturday
On Saturday, LACE (Lansing Association for Community Events) will host the third and final cruise night on Ridge Road for 2013. The event takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Ridge Road between Burnham and Wentworth Avenues. It’s a great opportunity to view some classic cars and interact with others in the community.
There are also a couple of raffles you can get in on. There will be individuals there selling raffle tickets for the Lansing Autumn Fest car raffle, which will be drawn in October, but there is an advantage to getting your tickets early as there will be an early bird cash drawing. Tickets are $20 and the grand prize is a Chevy Cruze with several cash prizes, as well.
A second raffle is a 50/50 Build-A-Pot raffle that benefits LACE. That winner will also be drawn in October, but there will be an early bird prize of White Sox tickets with a parking pass. Tickets are $5.