When the last out was made in the last game of the Ohio Valley regional baseball tournament, the Homewood All-Stars 12U team was victorious.
It was the end of an improbable run, according to one team parent. And the 2-1 victory over Prairie Village, Ky., earned the All Stars a trip to Aberdeen, Md., to compete in the Cal Ripken World Series.
Now the team needs a bit of help from the community. Two local businesses will be holding fundraisers Tuesday, Aug. 5.
From 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Aurelios Pizza, 18162 Harwood Ave., will donate 20 percent of any food and drink purchase to the team.
Dairy Queen on Ridge Road in Homewood will also be donating 20 percent of sales to support the team.
In both cases, patrons need to present a coupon (available below to print) in order to participate.
The team was invited to represent Northern Illinois at the Ohio Valley regionals, but started pool play seeded 9th after winning one, losing two in the first stage of play.
"We had to win four games in a row," said Febe Santos, mother of first baseman Jorge Santos.
And that's what they did, first knocking off Mill Creek, a team that had eliminated the All Stars from a tournament last year, Santos said. Then the All Stars beat Lake Cumberland 4 to 1 and Mattoon 4 to 1 to make it to the regional championship game against Prairie Village.
"It was unbelievable," Santos said. "We were in shock."
Parents are now scrambling to raise money and make arrangement for the trip to Aberdeen. Santos said they will find a way to make it all work.
In addition to the two business fundraisers, Homewood Baseball and Softball is soliciting donations on behalf of the team and has agreed to match up to $5,000, according to a letter from Steve Anderson, president of Homewood Baseball and Softball.
"The team has always been like a family," she said. "We help each other. It'll be a wonderful experience for these boys."
Jorge, who has been playing baseball since he was 5, said he was excited to have a chance to play in the World Series.
"I'm ecstatic to be able to go with my team," he said.
He and the All Stars will have a chance to compete not only with other top regional teams from the U.S., but with international teams, too.
Homewood Baseball and Softball
Contact Eric Crump at [email protected]