This is a special group of boys and it has been a ton of fun watching them play together over the past 4-5 years. Success is not foreign to them, they are used to being in big games and facing stiff competition. This year is no different, they have had to beat some exceptional teams to get to this point. The key to their success is being friends on and off the field...team-mates, school-mates and friends for life.
This year's District 6 tournament for Juniors (13-14 year olds) was once again hosted by Franklin Little League. The Franklin squad began the tournament by facing a hungry Burlington team. Ryan Busalacchi began the game on the mound and pitched very well, holding Burlington scoreless. The Franklin bats woke up early, plating 7 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. The run explosion was capped by a 3 run homer by Zach Wroblewski. Franklin was able to finish of the game with a 13-3 mercy in the 5th. Carrying that momentum, they faced South Milwaukee next, handing them a 10-3 defeat at the hands of Joe Fortman on the mound. With a 2-0 record, this set up a key match-up with Oak Creek. A hard-fought battle was marred in this one by several disputes over suspected "illegal" bats, turning the field into a court-room. After a 45 minute delay, daylight was lost and the suspended game was continued the next day, with Franklin having runners on second and third, one out. Dylan Lengell delivered in the first at-bat when the game resumed, plating one run. The 2nd run scored on a sac fly, giving Franklin the 2 run lead and a victory 9-7. But these teams were not done. Oak Creek defeated Felix Mantilla 3-2, setting up the Championship game, facing the undefeated Franklin team. Some key pitching and hitting lead Oak Creek to a 8-4 win and leading to the "if" game.
It seemed that it was destiny for this solid team from Franklin, built on friendship and very talented ball-players. Joe Fortman took the mound in this final game and made it look easy. He pitched a gem and got some key run support from Ryan Busalacchi whose double drove in 2 runs. After Austin Wright gloved the final catch in left field, Franklin celebrated a well earned victory, 5-1 and a District Championship. Congrats to Oak Creek on a superb tournament, we all were able to witness some fine baseball.
Now it is on to Madison for the Franklin boys, they face Madison Kennedy Thursday the 28th at East Madison Little League. Let's hope this team can keep up the magic in Madison and bring home the State title. Going to Regionals in Fort Wayne would be a real treat for all of these kids. Good Luck Boys!!!! Play with pride and heart, you will do well!
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