As the great Yogi Berra once said, “Its deja-vu all over again!”. Franklin National 12-year-old All-Stars defeated the resilient Franklin American squad to win the District 6 Title and earn a berth in the State tournament in Lakeland. This is the 3rd straight year that these teams have squared off in the Championship game and the 3rd time the National’s have prevailed. Kudos to Franklin American for being such a formidable opponent!
The team opened the tournament with a win against Kenosha American, followed by victories over Lakeland, South Milwaukee, and Franklin American to advance to the Championship game. This team caused quite a stir with some dominating pitching by Peter Oklobdzija, Vince Hughes and Austin Meyer, backed up by solid defense and clutch hitting by many, including Lucas Heder, Alec Jakubowski and Mike Davis. The team combined blazing speed on the bases and power at the plate to compile a 5-0 record for the tournament, perfecting an undefeated record in District 6 tournaments over the past 3 years. Quite an accomplishment, we couldn’t be prouder of this group of young men!
From this year’s tourney, there are some dramatic moments we will all remember. Matt Vraney’s bloop double versus South Milwaukee started a rally and was capped by Peter Oklobdzija’s towering walk-off grand slam, breaking the 9-9 deadlock (Franklin had been down 8-2). Battling Kenosha American, the team combined for 5 triples by Klein, Jakubowski, Meyer, Davis and Heder, amongst their many hits. In facing Franklin American the first time, Matt Vraney’s triple to right helped propel the team to a 7-run inning and the victory. This lead to more clutch hitting in the Championship game, as the Austins (Meyer & Wright) anchored a 9-run 2nd hitting a pair of 3-run homers en-route to an 11-6 win.
Head coach Steve Klein summed it up best saying, “I think we showed a huge growth in talent, heart, but what is the most impressive - sportsmanship. All of us could not be prouder about the character of these kids through what was a rough but exciting district tournament.”
The team: Peter Oklobdzija, Austin Meyer, Josh Frank, Ryan Busalacchi, Alec Jakubowski, Zach Bertram, Jake Klein, Austin Wright, Lucas Heder, Jimmy Milton, Matthew Vraney, Mike Davis, and Vince Hughes. Coaching Staff: Steve Klein (Head Coach), Jim Davis, Lloyd Bertram, and Steve Heder.
The team now heads to Lakeland representing District 6, to battle for the State Championship. Game #1 is on Saturday, July 25, at 1:30 p.m. Good luck boys, let's bring home a State Title!!!
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