Forest Park Little League is making a name for itself after winning the Berkeley Tournament 10 and under division for the second year in a row. With less than 10 days to prepare, Coach Pat Branniff gathered 12 boys from the 9-10 year Forest Park Little League and prepared them for a month of baseball against all-star teams from all over the area.
The Berkeley Tournament is a six team round robin tournament. The Forest Park team went through their first four games like a buzz saw, outscoring their opponents 56-6. Their final game just happened to be against the only other undefeated team, River Forest.
River Forest came out swinging, pushing three runs across to start the game. Forest Park answered with two and the battle was on. River Forest scored three more in the third and Forest Park answered with three to keep it a one run game. In the bottom of the fourth, Forest Park had the bottom half of their order coming up. They had produced all week and would need to put together one more rally in order to put the game in the hands of their best hitters. Five batters in a row reached base safely and Forest Park was poised to take the lead for the first time. TJ Johnson stepped to the plate 2 outs and bases loaded. He took the first pitch he saw just inches inside the right field line, sending the stands and the dugout into delirium. But it wouldn’t be enough, as River Forest would answer with five runs in the fifth and re-took the lead 11-10. Coach Pat huddled the boys as they came off the field and readied them for yet another comeback in a very well played baseball game. Evan Branniff and Kyle Barron lead off the inning with back to back doubles. Sebastian Lira crushed a triple and scored on a single from Miles Smith, who led the team with ten hits in the tournament, but there was still one more inning to play. River Forest had runners on first and second with one out and tying run at the plate. The batter scorched the first pitch towards right field but Nicky Tricocci snagged it from his spot at second base and doubled off the runner at first to end the game, 14-11.