HAMMOND | Crown Point manager Bob Bauner said he was retiring from coaching baseball after watching his Bulldogs cap a stunning run on their way to winning the region's first Cal Ripken World Series title Friday night at the Hammond Optimist Youth Sports Complex.
His son, Mike Bauner, said he'll likely do the same.
"This is probably it for me, too," said Mike, whose son, Kyle, and nephew, Marek, manned the middle infield for the Bulldogs.
As for World Series executive director and marketing coordinator Doyle Godbolt.
"I'm going to Disneyland," he said. "I have $140 in my pocket, that should get me on some rides."
For the organizers and participants of the WS, the whole week, not including the preparation leading up to it, was one big ride. Getting off and standing on stable ground again may take some getting used to.
"They told us that we were going to experience a crashing letdown when this is all over," Godbolt said. "They said that we're going to be so used to being busy, putting in the countless hours into making this work, that we may not know what to do with ourselves afterwards."
In 2010, Hammond Optimist Youth Sports hosted the Cal Ripken Ohio Valley Regional. After that, HOYS felt it was up for the challenge to host a World Series, and put in a bid which was granted.
Godbolt said they're more than willing to do this again.
"We proved to everyone that the City of Hammond could pull something like this off," Godbolt said. "Everything went well. Everyone did their jobs, especially the grounds crew."
Though HOYS has put its name in the hat for a future WS, it's likely the tourney won't come back to Hammond for at least four years."
"But there are always backup sites in case a host city suffers a tornado or flood, or for some reason finds it's unable to host it," Godbolt said. "In that event, we might end up hosting it again next year."
That wouldn't bother Tom Wright, the Northern Indiana Cal Ripken Baseball commissioner.
"When I started in Cal Ripken 17 years ago, there were two leagues in the entire state," Wright said. "Now there are 15 in Lake and Porter counties alone. A tournament like this can only help the growth."
Crown Point is one of several town leagues that switched to Cal Ripken from Little League six years ago.
"In general, there are minor differences between the two organizations," Wright said. "We view ourselves as more of a progressive league. We allow town leagues more (autonomy) to run things the best way for them and not interfere so much from the outside. It's just when it comes to tournaments like this, Cal Ripken (officials) have more of a say on how things should be run."
Tournament director George Lally, who has presided over numerous WS tourneys, ranks Hammond's among the best.
"We would definitely like to come back here again," Lally said. "It was one of the most exciting and best organized. And the crowds have been great. You say 2,500 (for the Crown Point vs. Hammond Optimist semifinal on Thursday), I heard estimates it was more like 4,000."
Hammond Optimist Youth Sports commissioner John Leouses, who helped organize the press box at the World Series, is ready to play ball again.
"We're starting fall ball after Labor Day, and we're adding agility training for 7 to 9 year olds," Leouses said. "I'm up for hosting another one. Maybe next time the guys in blue (Hammond Optimist) will come out on top."