CHICAGO | Some things just say Chicago.
Deep dish pizza. A fully loaded hot dog. Sixteen-inch softball.
And just like you never, never, never put ketchup on that hot dog, you don't use a glove when you play Chicago's game.
Despite coming up just short of a Chicago Public Schools championship in 2012, the 16-inch softball team at Washington is making a name for itself and thriving in a city that thrives on 16-inch leagues.
The Patriots finished 13-1 in 2012, and lost in the elite eight of the CPS championship to eventual champion Walter Payton High School.
"We had high hopes for this season so it was a disappointment to say the least," Washington coach Ismael Jaquez said. "Still, to go 13-1 shows just how far the program here at Washington has come."
The 16 inch league follows similar rules to most adult slow-pitch softball leagues. The batters start with a 1-and-1 count, and the defense is given an extra fielder to use as the team sees fit. Most of the schedule consists of two seven-inning games.
In three years of coaching the Patriots, Jaquez has taken the team to at least the elite eight in the city tournament each season.
"The majority of our players were back and we lost only two seniors off of last year's team," Jaquez said. "They're predominantly all baseball players, so it's really our baseball team."
In the Patriots only loss to eventual champion Walter Payton, Washington held a 14-2 lead in the fifth before allowing 14 runs in the bottom of the inning and falling to Walter Payton in seven by a score of 17-14.
"I've never seen anything like it," Jaquez said. "We had them beat by the slaughter rule if we could have held on, but they scored 14 in the bottom of the inning and went on to win."
Initially, the Patriots fought Jaquez's teaching, but the team has bought into the system and the results are obvious on the field for Washington.
"They just changed completely," Jaquez said. "It's working. They fought me at the beginning but they've bought in and they get it."
Washington junior Agustin Guerrero played a big part of the Patriot's success in 2012, and he's happy with the baseball practice that can come with the 16 inch season.
"Our team is united and we play as one," Guerrero said. "We're doing what we need to do to win games and it's working out for us. Softball is a good help for baseball because the one thing in softball is just keep your eye on the ball. It's just fun being out here with these guys."