Chicagoans end Aussies’ surreal run convincingly, 7-2
It’s the first World Series title for U.S. Central since 2005
By Sam Coombs
Excitement was in the air for Saturday’s nationally televised world championship game. The Southern Mariners, of Melbourne, Australia, matched up against Clear Ridge L.L., Chicago, Illinois, to determine a champion. The Southern Mariners looked to get revenge on Clear Ridge, which handed the Asia-Pacific champs their first loss of the summer. However, the U.S. Central champs rose to occasion on the likes of Zach Verta’s arm, winning a world championship 7-2 in this one.
It was U.S. Central’s first World Series title since Urbandale L.L., Urbandale, Iowa, won in 2005.
Verta had everything working for him, including his bat at the plate. Verta batted in his team’s first run on a double to left field in the bottom half of the first.
On the mound, Verta was in command with a great fastball and curveball all day.
“My fastball and curveball felt really good throwing today,” Verta said. “My curveball was my payoff pitch, and it felt even more comfortable than my fastball today, so I just went with it.”
In the top half of the fifth, the rain came in strong at Mansfield Stadium, putting a delay in the action from about 3:30 p.m. to 5:05 p.m. Despite the delay, Verta stayed in the game and continued his success.
“When we were on the rain delay, everyone was encouraging us to keep doing what we are doing,” Verta said, “I couldn’t let anyone down, so I just went out there and did my thing.”
Verta finished the game pitching 5.2 innings while allowing one run – unearned – on two hits. He struck out eight.
For the Aussies, offensively they could never get a rally started despite putting runners on base. Their surreal run came to an end, but they are very happy with what they accomplished.
“We didn’t play our best baseball today, but we take a lot from this tournament,” manager Brendan Wilson said. “We played unbelievable baseball throughout and I am super proud of these guys.”
The leader in the series for the Southern Mariners was Jordan Barnett, who went 7-for-17 at the plate with five RBIs and on the mound in 7.2 innings pitched a 0.00 ERA. Jack Dunn also had a great series at the plate, going 6-for-17 with four RBIs and six runs scored.
“We go home incredibly proud of these guys. We played 21 games, and 19 wins you can’t be anything but proud,” Wilson said.
For the boys from Chicago, they went into the final game with confidence that they were the best team here, and it showed.
“I wasn’t nervous at all today,” Noah Miller said. “I knew we are a good team and I was confident we were going to win. I stepped into home plate confident I was going to get on base every at bat.”
The win for Clear Ridge Chicago is the first for the league in Bangor, and the players couldn’t be more excited to take it back to their community.
“These guys have been playing together for 10 years. This really means a lot to the kids, coaches and especially the parents,” Clear Ridge coach William Trezek said.
It was a great final matchup and a good week of baseball at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor, and another champion was crowned.
Clear Ridge L.L., Chicago, Illinois, post-game audio (6:29)
Clear Ridge L.L., Chicago, Illinois, post-game video (6:55)
Southern Mariners L.L., Melbourne, Australia, post-game audio (3:32)