CROWN POINT | New banners around the square saluting the Cal Ripken World Series Champion Crown Point 12U team were the backdrop Tuesday for a parade in their honor.
Hundreds of city residents cheered the baseball team’s players and coaches. Team members hoisted their trophy high as they rode atop a fire engine escorted by police cars and an ambulance with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
The parade continued to the Crown Point youth baseball field on North Street.
The celebration marked the baseball team’s 5-4 victory over the Kingsbridge, N.Y., team in the championship game of the Cal Ripken Major League World Series on Friday at Hammond Optimist Park.
The Bulldogs defeated a Hammond team and played others from Kentucky, North Dakota and Hawaii, losing only one game before single-elimination tournament play.
Bulldog pitcher Nick Geisen, named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and All-Tournament Pitcher, described the city’s support as “great.”
“It was a sea of red seeing all the people cheering us on,” he said.
His father and coach, Larry Geisen, said the support of the youth athletic programs from the city administration, especially Mayor David Uran and Jenny Burgess of the Parks Department, has been excellent — as has been the support of the fans.
A lot of people from Crown Point went to Hammond to support the team, Larry Geisen said.
“There was a lot of red,” Geisen said. “It made the kids feel special.”
Tim Bianco, whose son Luke is on the team, said the kids have played together five years and won five state championships.
“It is absolutely amazing what the city is doing for the boys,” Bianco said. “We appreciate everything they have done.”
Uran, sporting a red shirt in honor of the team’s color, was given one of the official World Series Champion T-shirts before the parade.
“Tonight we are honoring and celebrating their accomplishment as World Series champs,” Uran said. “It is an unbelievable accomplishment. It is something they will remember the rest of their lives.”
The Crown Point Bulldogs 12U roster includes Ryder Rex, Marek Bauner, Kyle Gilmack, Chris Paris, Kyle Bauner, Joshua Suslowicz, Jake Schalasky, Alec Matalin, Sam Krutz, Luke Bianco, Nick Geisen, Logan Ryan, Kenny Michaels and Ryan Fender. The team’s coaches are Larry Geisen, Bob Bauner, John Paris, Chris Krutz and Mike Bauner.
Team catcher Sam Krutz was named to the All-Defensive Tournament Team, Larry Geisen said.
What is next for the team? Geisen said the boys, as 13-year-olds, will move up to the Babe Ruth League.
“It was a great time for baseball for the kids this year,” he said.