2013 Suburbs College/Prep – CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK

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Updated: August 9, 2013

Welcome to the final Suburbs College/Prep Wrap-Up of the Summer!  The Wrap-Up this week will take us through game by game and see who advanced from the Elite8 on to the Final4, then from the Final4 on to the Championship game and finally who took home the Crown!  First, here is a LINK to an extended Highlight Video for this Week full of plays from each and every Playoff Game!

Elite8 Softball

5. Team Wilneff (Factor75.com) v. 16. Team Rijos (Salon ALX) – Team Wilneff wins 10-0

Well the slipper just couldn’t stay on forever.. Team Wilneff got out to a fast start in this one — even without many of their key contributors — they went up 4-0 early behind a grand slam in the bottom of the 1st and just never looked back… For Team Wilneff they get a Playoff Softball win — which has been a true struggle for them in Season’s past — does Brian “Pat Riley” Wilneff’s team have one more of these in them?  For Team Rijos — Many won’t remember this Loss as they weren’t expected to make it this far (or even close to this far really) — what people will remember is their 2 Hoops Victories in the Opening Rounds highlighted by Randall “Mr. Big Shot” Pulfer’s game winning 3 in 5OT to send 2012 Runners-Up Team Maione home early.  These guys have a strong core and now having been through the grind of an All Sports Series season they will have key experience for building up to 2014.. These guys will be back and are certainly a team to watch next year.

6. Team Lev (Highland Pop) v. 14. Team Sternberg (Camp Ojibwa) – Team Sternberg wins 10-6

The story coming out of this game is that #14 Seed and 2012 Defending Champs have upended another Team in order to get back to the Final 4 for the second consecutive season.  Let’s back up however…  Team Lev has been one of the strongest teams in the League all Summer long and they continued to fight even in their final game when things looked grim.  Captain Mitchell “@sonofamitch22” Lev has a really really good squad and with a few tweaks (such as adding another softball player or 2) I think they come into to 2014 as one of the favorites for the College/Prep Crown.  Mark “Reynolds” Johnson hit a HR for these guys to help them get back in this one but it was just not enough on this night.   Team Sternberg got a great defensive effort from Captain Sam “the wall at 3b” Sternberg and some timely hitting from Andrew “the guy is playing on a partially torn hammy” Mott who also pitched a stellar game for these guys.  I’ve said it before — getting through the All Sports Series Playoffs requires a certain amount of luck — a ball rimming out of the hoop, or a foul ball that just barely missed the line, or even having all of your guys in town — that being said, to reach the Final4 in THREE straight Summers in a League that is this deep year in and year out is a testament to Sternberg and co.   They are just 2 games away now from becoming the very first Back to Back Champions in All Sports Series history.

1. Team Simon (Carriage Hill Kennels) v. 9. Team Deutsch (Baker Boys) – Team Simon wins 16-1

Well, for those who doubted Team Simon on the Softball diamond — think again.  They pulled off this blow out while playing shorthanded too.  Michael “speed” Simon’s All Star crew was present however and what they lacked in numbers they made up for with timely hitting and clutch D.  Team Deutsch was in it early but key mistakes in the field did them in on Tuesday Night.  For Team Deutsch — they need not focus on the final score of this one — they were a few innings of bad softball away from the Final4.  They are close.  There isn’t much they need to do other than sure up what everyone’s role is and they will be right back next year playing late in the Playoffs.  This squad has much pure talent as anyone out there and if they can figure out what their best defensive lineup looks like in Softball I think they would be insanely scary.  I know for a fact they will be back in 2014 and I think next year could really be theirs for the taking.  Team Simon getting to the Final4 is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention all year.. Their next opponent is Team Wilneff in Softball..  I’m not sure it’s either teams’ first choice in terms of sport but, you have to be able to win them all in All Sports Series.  It should be a star-studded affair on Thursday Night.

2. Team Greco (Crescent Movers) v. 10. Team Teitelbaum (North Shore Turf) – Team Greco wins 12-2

The Final team into the Final4 is Team Greco.  I’ll say this, the score is not indicative of the talent that Team Teitelbaum posses on the Softball field.. They were missing a few key players such as Zach “Mr. 42” Hilgendorf and others.. Not saying this is a completely different outcome but Team Teitelbaum isn’t 10 runs worse than anyone in the League — even Team Greco who I can comfortably call the best Softball bunch in All Sports Series.  Captain Teitelbaum’s club is one of the most talented around.. I think their Seed didn’t showcase what they could really do as they had a few losses early in the Season without a full group.  If they can get everyone out to HP on Sundays next Summer they will be a top seed no questions asked.  Also one of the nicest groups around.  As for the #2 Seed Team Greco — we’ve been saying it all Summer — getting that bye in Hoops was the biggest thing in the world to them.  They are the best Softball team in the League and it would be a true upset for them to lose one of these games.  They were even down a couple runs early in this one after Brian “got on his horse” Levitas hit a HR for Teitelbaum in the 1st inning.  It didn’t phase them one bit as they kept saying each other “we just have to win the inning” — and they did 5-2, they never looked back after that.  Interestingly enough there’s a certain team known for knocking off higher seeded teams in the Playoffs and those guys happen to be their next opponent, 2012 Champions — Team Sternberg.  The Final4 is set and I think we couldn’t have two better matchups!

Final4 Softball:

2. Team Greco (Crescent Movers) v. 14. Team Sternberg (Camp Ojibwa) – Team Greco wins 12-2

In the first couple innings of the game it was close.  Each team grabbed 2 runs early and they were deadlocked at 2 until the the bottom of the third.. The defense was there for both squads early as each team realized how important it was to not give their opponent any extra at bats.  So yes it was close until the bottom of the third.. Until it wasn’t anymore.  Team Greco put up a gigantic SEVEN runs on the board in the bottom of the third and that was all she wrote. For Team Greco, they reach their first ever All Sports Series Championship after years of competing for the Crown..  It’s fitting that they had to go through the Defending Champs on their last stop before the Championship Game… For Team Sternberg, there’s little left to say that hasn’t been said already.  Some of their players have laced up in 3 consecutive Final Fours dating back to 2011.  A feat that is unmatched by any other.  No matter what happens, in years to come, they will always be the 2012 Champs..  Want to take a brief second to touch on Captain Sam “Coach” Sternberg — He is one of the most intense Players in All Sports Series — not just the College/Prep League — but I’ll tell you one thing, he’s on my very shortlist of Captains I’d truly love to play alongside.  The guy wants to win and he puts every ounce that he has into getting his team in a position to do just that.  These guys will be back and you will likely hear from them again come Elite8/Final4 time even if their Regular Season seems a bit pedestrian..  Back to Team Morris — they finished their game first and went down to the other side of the Park to watch the other Final4 game unfold.  They have history with both teams — as they have faced #1 Seed Team Simon on three occasions already this Summer — in the Volleyball Tourney which they won and twice in Hoops which Team Simon took both of..  Then there is Team Wilneff — who their Rivalry runs deep with.  These two squads were originally teammates back in the first ever All Sports Series.. They know how each other move and think..  It was truly fascinating to see Team Greco watch and react to the final seconds of  the other Final4 contest — so who would they face?

1. Team Simon (Carriage Hill Kennels) v. 5. Team Wilneff (Factor75.com) – Team Wilneff wins 7-5

All season long Team Simon has been setting the pace for the College/Prep League.. They have been the Team to beat and for good reason.  No matter the sport they have excelled.. On this night they just could not pull it out.  The game went back and forth throughout the early stages and with one swing of the bat Anthony “Twan” Maione put Team Wilneff up for good.  Team Simon was up 4-3 before the 3run jack which put up Team Wilneff 6-4.  Eventually Team Wilneff tacked on another and Team Simon’s final rally in the bottom of the 7th fell just a little short.  I want to focus a bit more on the #1 Seed from this Summer before I turn to Team Wilneff.  Team Simon was not the oldest team in the field — not by a long shot — in fact they are a group that has many years left in the College/Prep League.. That should scare just about everyone.  This could be the beginning of a dynasty for this crew and while this surely stings — I think they could be better and stronger for it next Season (and the Seasons after that).  For the first time all Summer they have identified a tiny weakness — their softball offense could use another bat or two — and I am positive they will address that issue by the time June 2014 rolls around and more importantly August 2014.  I’ll leave you with this on Team Simon– throughout the years many teams have lost in the Playoffs, and many teams have lost in upset fashion — this squad lost on Thursday Night, but they lost like Champions..  It was not calls or what they could have done differently or “what if” — It was we will see you next year for the Crown.  I believe them.   As for Team Wilneff, this win was 4 years in the making…  They have so often gotten to the brink of the Championship game, only to have one final Softball game get in their way.. Captain Brian Wilneff was an original Captain back when the League was formed in 2010 and he wants that Crown as much as anyone who has ever laced up in All Sports Series..  Finally, I think it is almost poetic, for Team Wilneff to reach the Championship Game for the first time and to have their former teammates, former players who have worn the Team Wilneff jerseys, be staring them in the face from across the gridiron…

Championship Flag Football

2. Team Greco (Crescent Movers) v. 5. Team Wilneff (Factor75.com) – Team Greco wins 13-6

We started this Summer with 20 Teams and by the start of the Playoffs a couple weeks back we were down to 16.  After the two Opening Round Hoops Games we were down to 14.  14 than became an Elite8.  Tuesday Night 8 turned into the Final4.  Finally we have found our 2 that will do battle for the ultimate prize.   I have briefly touched on it above but it bears repeating.. These two teams share so much history.  They were teammates that started under the Team Wilneff name in 2010 and then went through a nasty divorce.. They have been Rivals in the truest sense of the word..  Tonight — the seeds wouldn’t matter, for these teams know each other far too well — tonight, it’s about the Crown.  Overall, in a game that could have been riddled with emotional penalties that would have affected the game’s outcome, both teams kept it in check and for the most part played an extremely clean game.. Team Wilneff got the ball first and Anthony “QB1” Maione led them down the field with dinks and dunks until he hurled a 25 yard strike to Captain Brian “stretch” Wilneff who ran a seam route through the middle of the Team Greco defense, leaped with full extension and hauled in the pass before falling to the ground and in the endzone.  Team Wilneff struck first.. They did not get the PAT however, so they would lead just 6-0 after the first drive.  Team Greco could not answer back with a score of their own due to some great d-line pressure by Team Wilneff.  Team Wilneff had their second turn on Offense and again they began to methodically move the ball down the field.. When it was time for chance number 2 to be taken by the Team Wilneff O, another score was put on the board — this time for Team Greco however.. Maione stepped back and launched a ball to the left corner of the field but Alex “all day” May was waiting for it for the Defense… Team Greco turned into the BEARS and everyone seemed to get on a man… It was their time to score and they knew it.. May brought the ball back to the endzone for a Pick6 that tied it up.  On the PAT Captain Morris “QB” Greco found Ben “at home on the football field” Detzner open in the endzone and they would go up 7-6.  That would be the score at half time and for much of the second half really.. The difference in the game would turn out to be turnovers.. Team Wilneff committed 3 and Team Greco didn’t turn the ball over.  Team Wilneff’s final turnover would lead to the final score of the game.  Team Greco took possession in the middle of the field and just a few plays later Captain Morris “if you can’t root for him something is wrong with you” Greco sprinted around the ride side and dove to nail the pylon and give his team the final score of the game.  Just to remind folks that may have forgotten.. Captain Morris, had to leave last summer from a flag football game with a Torn ACL.. So to see him out there running was both terrifying and amazing all at once..  The game was not over just yet, as Team Wilneff had enough time to get the ball back and get back to the endzone.  On the final play Team Wilneff had 4th and Goal from about 15 yards out..  The ball went through the hands of an open WR and with the incomplete pass Team Greco just had to get a first down to become Champions.  It was another Morris Greco run that sealed the deal for his team to give them the 2013 Championship!  Team Wilneff of course left Thursday Night heartbroken as they will be able to look back at a few specific plays which kept them from the crown.  I have no doubt in my mind Team Wilneff will be in All Sports Series next Summer and they will be a factor at the end of the Playoffs, I just don’t know if it will be time for them to move on to the Chicago Men’s League or not..  For Team Greco — Champions at last!  They have done it all season long and truly deserve this Title.  They won the Volleyball Tourney back in week 3 for the second year in a row and that was just one of their many highlights on the Season.  The biggest difference between these guys and the other 19 teams in the League has to be their chemistry.  They pick each other up after every play whether it was a good or bad one..  They knew each teammates’ tendencies so well.  These guys are true Champions and I am proud they have won the deepest College/Prep League to date.

One final time Congratulations to the 2013 Champs – Team Greco.  Until next Summer, thanks for reading.. only 9 months away until June..  Or if you are in Madison or Champaign this Fall — we will see you in a few short weeks.

Thanks everyone,

– Holden