CHICAGO -- It was a “hero's welcome” at Hale Park in Garfield Ridge on the Southwest Side, as the Clear Ridge team returned with the World Series Championship.
Returning to the ball field where it all started a decade ago, the group of 16 players that make up the Clear Ridge baseball team became the first team from Illinois ever to win the Senior League World Series, defeating Australia 7-2 in the final game held in Bangor, Maine, and played before a national TV audience.
The Senior League is a division of Little League International for players 13 to 17 years old.
On the day of the championship, the team slept in until 11 o'clock -- and took the field with one goal: to have fun.
It's a bond forged over 10 years playing together, and a lifetime growing up in a hard-working South Side neighborhood.
Clear Ridge defeated teams from Virginia, Spain, Puerto Rico and -- finally -- Australia.