Cal Ripken World Series

Bulldogs World Series champs

2013-08-16T21:30:00Z 2013-09-16T18:28:05Z Bulldogs World Series champsJohn Burbridge john.burbridge@nwi.com, (219) 933-3371 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Hate to say it and we have nothing against the young man, but Kingsbridge Knights left-handed slugger George Valera has a power stroke reminiscent of Barry Bonds.

His three-run blast to right-center gave the Bronx, N.Y. team a 3-0 lead over the Crown Point Bulldogs through the first inning of the Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series on Friday at the Hammond Optimist Youth Sports Complex.

Then in the third, Valara hit a second homer off Crown Point starter Logan Ryan, a solo shot that cleared the center field scoreboard with room to spare to make the score 4-2, Kingsbridge.

But there are other ways to win in baseball, like getting on base, taking an extra base, seizing every wild pitch and passed ball as an opportunity to score, pitching out of bases-loaded jams with the help of some great defense, and choosing not to pitch to Valera with first base open.

That was the formula the Bulldogs used to win the first Cal Ripken WS title in region history with a 5-4 final that ended when Luke Bianco robbed Knight's leadoff hitter Sammy De La Cruz of extra-bases and a game-tying RBI when he hauled in a long drive against the right field fence while nearly taking down an advertising sign.

"I didn't think I caught it," Bianco said. "It was only until I looked in my glove that I saw I had it."

For De La Cruz, who is the only Knights player from Kingsbridge's WS runner-up team from last year, it was a bitter pill to swallow.

"I didn't think it was gone," De La Cruz said of the chance that his drive would be a two-run WS-winning homer, "but I thought it would at least be a double to tie the game.

"I'm just going to keep playing hard ... that's all I can do."

Crown Point manager Bob Bauner thought De La Cruz's drive was a potential heart-breaker.

"I think I'm just getting too old for this," said Bauner, who has been coaching a managing youth baseball team for parts of four decades.

After Crown Point tied the game in the top of the fourth when Jake Schalasky and Marek Bauner scored on Logan Ryan's infield hit, Nick Geisen came in to relieve Ryan in the latter half of the frame.

Geisen would go on to strike out five in three innings. His only walk was an intentional one to Valera with the go-ahead run on second and first base open with one out in the fifth.

The Knights eventually loaded the bases, but a great bare-handed play by third baseman Ryan on Harry Segur Vargas' dribbler to force a run at the plate helped Geisen and company get out of the inning.

The Bulldogs scored the go-ahead run in the sixth when Marek Bauner, who previously doubled, scored on a passed ball that Kingsbridge manager Allen Dillon argued grazed the bat of Ryan.

"This was a team of destiny," Crown Point coach Chris Krutz said. "I don't know how anyone can top this."

Cal Ripken World Series All World Series Team

Pitcher -- Nick Geisen, Crown Point; Randall Perrin, Hammond Optimist.

Catcher -- Brendan Hord, South Lexington, Ky.

Third Base -- Gavin Hall, South Lexington, Ky.

Shortstop -- Aaron Tom, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Second Base -- Sammy De La Cruz, Kingsbridge, N.Y.

1st Base -- Cameron Baughman, South Lexington, Ky.

Outfield -- George Valera, Kingsbridge, N.Y.; Curtis Frazier, Quincy, Mass.; Brandon Holt, Grand Forks, N.D.

Utility -- Rigo Martinez, Hammond Optimist.

Most Outstanding Player -- Nick Geisen, Crown Point.

All Defensive Team

Pitcher -- Richie Vidal, Honolulu, Hawaii; George Valera, Kingsbridge, N.Y.

Catcher -- Sammy Krutz, Crown Point.

Third Base -- Gavin Hall, South Lexington, Ky.

Shortstop -- Aaron Tom, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Second Base -- Santino Barbosa, Hammond Optimist.

First Base -- Coby Tweten, Grand Forks, N.D.

Outfield -- Rafael Rios, Hammond Optimist; Harry Segura Vargas, Kingsbridge, N.Y.; Will Eagleson, Grand Forks, N.D.

Utility -- Gabriel Zambrana, Kingsbridge, N.Y.

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