2014 Suburbs College/Prep Elite8, Final4, and CHAMPIONSHIP (Aug. 10)

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Updated: August 11, 2014

Championship Sunday provided thrills, upsets, extra-innings and most importantly a Champion!  Welcome to the final College/Prep Wrap-Up of the Summer!  We’re going to go through Game by Game from the Elite8 Round to the Final4 and then ultimately the Championship Game.  Before we do that, here’s a link to the Weekly Highlight Video featuring Championship Sunday!

Elite8 – Softball

2. Team Valvassori (Loree’s Closet) v. 9. Team Rijos (Tamales) – 9. Team Rijos wins 10-2

Team Valvassori got off to as good a start as you could possibly ask for.. They won their first 3 Games and added a Volleyball Tourney W to their mantle as well.. They used that hot start to springboard into the Top2 Game and a bye into the Elite8 Round.  However, they haven’t looked as dynamic the past few weeks as they had in June and on Sunday they ran into a Team that’s simply on fire.  Team Rijos certainly hit their stride in the League’s final Weeks and used that momentum to win a close Game in the Opening Round w/ Team Rubin and knock the #2 overall Seed – Team Valvassori from the Playoffs.. Team Rijos looked like the more confident Team from the opening pitch on.. For Team Valvassori it will be hard to not leave the 2014 Season a little disappointed and only because they had such high hopes after their tremendous start.  They have nothing to hang their heads about though.. When they look back on the Season they will know they were one of the best Teams in the League and just ran into the wrong Team at the wrong Time.  Team Valvassori is completing their 3rd Season in All Sports Series this Summer and they made a gigantic leap this time around.  They will be among the favorites to win the Crown in 2015.  For Team Rijos, their seed may make them appear as Underdogs, but in reality they’ve been one of the best Teams in the League for some time..  They await the Winner of the Elite8 Game between 5. Team Kogan and 16. Team Deutsch… They are just one win away from Championship Game.

5. Team Kogan (First Bank of HP) v. 16. Team Deutsch (Highland Pop) – 16. Team Deutsch wins 6-4

This turned out to be the most compelling Game of the Elite8 Round.  These Teams know each other so well — they have even called each other Teammates in previous years of All Sports Series.  In a close Rivalry like this one you must throw seeding out the door..  It was anyone’s Game and both Teams knew it.  These 2 crews couldn’t have had more opposite Regular Seasons as Team Kogan seemed as if they were steamrolling anyone and everyone in their path each week.. While, Team Detusch did just enough to squeak into the Playoffs, just getting in w/ the last spot.. However, they’ve made the most of their opportunity as they won 2 Playoff Hoops Games in the Opening Rounds a couple weeks ago.. This Game hung in the balance for the entire 7-inning stretch and at the end of the day Team Deutsch came out on top thanks to some fantastic defensive plays.  Team Kogan from top to bottom really was one of the, if not THE, most talented group in the League this Summer.  However, in the Playoffs, matchups are everything and Team Deutsch did just enough on the diamond to survive and advance.  Team Kogan will undoubtedly be back in 2015 and knowing them they will be even stronger — a scary thought for the rest of the College/Prep League.  Team Detusch will move on to the Final4 where they will try to knock off their 4th opponent in these Playoffs.  They have become the lowest seed to ever make the Final4.  Congrats goes out to them.

1. Team Maione (Baker Boys) v. 7. Team Almeleh (Trifecta Grill) – 1. Team Maione wins 11-1

You got to feel for Team Almeleh in this spot.. Team Maione is likely the best Softball Team that we have in All Sports Series.  Not just the College/Prep League. Just any League.  They are the best.  So again you have to feel for Team Almeleh. They so badly wanted to try and put away their heartbreak from the 2013 Champaign League and this Summer it was just not meant to be..  They are one of the nicest groups in the League and always a pleasure to have in the League. They’ll be back both in Champaign and next Summer in 2015.  By this time next year they very well can be holding their first Crown.  Team Maione now awaits the winner of the 3. Team Sternberg v. 11. Team Saltzberg Game in the Final4.

3. Team Sternberg (ALX Salon) v. 11. Team Saltzberg (Danley’s Garage World) – 3. Team Sternberg wins 28-0

This was the Rematch everyone had been waiting for the past 2 Weeks. These 2 Teams met in an epic 9-inning battle during the Regular Season and the thought of another one of their duels was the highlight of the lead up to the Elite8.. Team Sternberg extinguished that enthusiasm for a nail-biter early on.. Their bats were just unstoppable in this one.  They just kept putting the ball where Team Saltzberg wasn’t.. Not much you can do.  Liners, Bombs, up-the middle, down the line.. They were just awesome..  Team Saltzberg did what many Rookie squads can’t do in their Rookie All Sports Series campaign.. They won a Playoff Game (and against a higher seed).  They have tons to build off of for their next run in 2015.  They may be down in the Chicago Men’s League next Summer and there’s no doubt that Captain Todd will have the boys ready to go.  Team Sternberg’s W sets up a Rematch from the 2013 College/Prep League Final4 w/ much of Team Maione’s crew (then Team Morris).. Onto the Final4 we go..

 

Final4 – Softball

9. Team Rijos (Tamales) v. 16. Team Deutsch (Highland Pop) – 9. Team Rijos wins 4-3

Team Rijos jumped out early with their battery of lefties and put up a 4 in the first inning.. From there on out it was all Team Detusch.. In the final inning the #16 seed trailed 4-3 with two on and two outs.. Team Rijos found a way to make another play in what is becoming the expectation for these guys.. This was one of the best Playoff Games in any Round this year.. Both Teams could taste the Championship Game and wanted it so bad.  For Team Deutsch, no doubt they will leave with the “what if” but they had such an incredible Playoff ride.. They ousted 3 higher seeds from the Playoffs in 2014.  They were the first 16 seed to ever get to a Final4. A stat that should stick for sometime.  They are/were one of the best Hoops squads in the College/Prep League and will continue to be in 2015.  These Guys know now that they can win away from the Hoops Court and you can expect them to use this Playoff run to propel them to great things next Summer.  They can be the last time standing by this time next August.  For Team Rijos, they move onto their first Championship Game and will go toe to toe with a group that has tasted Championship Glory. Whether it’s 1. Team Maione or 3. Team Sternberg, they will enter the Championship as the young upstarts.. Can they finish this magical ride?  Scroll down.

1. Team Maione (Baker Boys) v. 3. Team Sternberg (ALX Salon) – 1. Team Maione  wins 6-5 in 8 innings

Just to give a bit of historical perspective to this one.. Many of Team Sternberg’s crew won the 2012 College/Prep League Championship (then playing as Team Rhum)..  They are the lowest seed to ever win an All Sports Series Crown as an #11 seed.. That year they defeated another Cinderella story — #10 Seed Team Maione…  Then the following year, 2013, last year’s Champs – Team Greco – went through Team Sternberg in the Final4 en route to their first Championship.  This off-season, Team Greco merged into Team Maione, as many Players joined the Chicago Men’s League leaving one-super duper power, who would become the #1 overall Seed – Team Maione.  Basically, these are two of the best Franchises the College/Prep League has seen in the past few years and it’s only fitting they should meet once again with a spot in the Championship Game up for grabs.

Now remember, Team Maione won the Top2 Hoops Game a couple weeks ago and chose this side of the Bracket.. Sources say they wanted Team Sternberg in Softball rather than Flag Football.. You’d have to tip your cap to the brains of the decision-maker on that one.

Team Maione jumped out, as they so often do, to an early lead in this one.. They held a 5-2 lead going into the Top of the 7th where it seemed their normal lockdown D would send them to the Championship Game. Only #3 Team Sternberg’s bats had other ideas.. The same bats that rattled off 28 runs just a couple hours before..  Before the 3rd out was recorded Team Sternberg had tallied 3 in that 7th inning and knotted the game at 5.  Team Maione would not drive home a run in the bottom half and to extras we went..  Team Sternberg had all the momentum and knew it.. However, they couldn’t capitalize and drive in any runs in the top of the 8th.. In the bottom of the inning, Team Maione did what Championship Teams do.. They scratched, clawed and found a way to win..

When these guys look back on the 2014 Playoffs.. This will be the Game that is remembered.. It was an unbelievable contest and one that it was truly sad to see a Team have to take an L. There’s no feeling bad for Team Sternberg who has had another amazing season in All Sports Series. They are perennial favorites every time they get on the court/field/diamond.. Next Summer will be no different..  If they can climb into the Top2 during the 2015 Regular Season, the ability to pick their side of the Bracket may really put them over the top.  Congrats on another great Summer guys.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP – Flag Football

1. Team Maione (Baker Boys) v. 9. Team Rijos (Tamales) – 1. Team Maione wins 36-12

Another historical note — Team Rijos as one of the last Teams in upset Team Maione last Summer in the Opening Round of Hoops on a last-second shot.  It was our first glimpse of just how good Team Rijos could be.. Team Maione has been thinking about that for over a year now..

Simply put Team Maione was just the best Team this Summer.  They controlled this one from the opening seconds and truly never looked back. The Game never felt in doubt and as the clock ticked toward Halftime, everyone knew that it was Team Maione’s Crown to wear.  A gigantic Congrats is in-store for them and it will come shortly.. For the Runners-Up..  Team Rijos went on an amazing run this August.  They ousted tremendous competitors and really excelled in the win or go home format. In so many ways, they are reminiscent of Team Maione’s 2012 run — a #10 Seed then, who unexpectedly got to the Championship Game. I think everyone is aware now (and finally) that Team Rijos is among the best the College/Prep League has to offer.  They are still very young and have many runs left in them.. It’ll be hard for other Teams to keep them from the Crown in 2015 and 2016 for that matter.. Sometimes you need to get close and feel the disappointment before you can get over the hump.. These guys are right there and will enter 2015 with new confidence and much deserved recognition. Congrats on a great ride and see you guys soon.

As for the Champs.. So much can be said about this Group.. Members of this Team (the Team Greco contingency from last Summer) become the first group of Guys to ever repeat in Men’s All Sports Series.  Ben Detzner, Brian Evans, Michael Kleinmuntz and former Captain Morris Greco have done what no one has been able to do before them.. All Sports Series has been in existence for 5 years and Morris Greco can certainly make a claim for a spot on its Mt. Rushmore..  Then there’s Tyler Max who Captained the first ever Madison League Champs last Fall.. This guy is adding Crowns as rapidly as anyone ever has before.  Finally, you have Captain Frank Maione and his cast who have been with him since the beginning – Danny Holzman, Austin Natkin, David Ofer and Geoff Perlman.. These guys who had such heartbreak in 2012 (and again in 2013 – at the hands of Team Rijos).. To see them finally hold the Crown was just awesome. Congrats to you all.  Well deserved!!

That’s it for the 2014 College/Prep League..Thanks for reading!  Everyone have a great school year and see you back next Summer!

– Holden