2008 Illinois State Little League® Tournament Results
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Illinois State Tournament
Major Baseball Division

Toward the past

Toward the present

Illinois State Tournament
Host - Bartlett (District 13)
At Koehler Field

Participating Teams
Section 1 Champions Salem (District 1)
Section 2 Champions Hinsdale (District 11)
Section 3 Champions Jackie Robinson West (Chicago) (District 4)
Section 4 Champions Libertyville National (District 16)
Section 5 Champions Moline National (District 5)

NOTE: The 2008 Illinois state tournament used a round-robin format.

Click here to view 2008 district tournament results for Illinois.

Tournament Results:

Day 1 (Wednesday, July 23):
Jackie Robinson West 5, Moline National 1
Libertyville National 7, Hinsdale 4

Day 2 (Thursday, July 24):
Jackie Robinson West 4, Salem 0
Moline National 4, Hinsdale 0

Day 3 (Friday, July 25):
Jackie Robinson West 7, Libertyville National 1
Moline National 10, Salem 0

Day 4 (Saturday, July 26):
Libertyville National 3, Salem 1
Jackie Robinson West 10, Hinsdale 6

Day 5 (Sunday, July 27):
Moline National 7, Libertyville National 6
Salem 5, Hinsdale 4




Jackie Robinson West 4 0 8
Moline National 3 1 11
Libertyville National 2 2 19
Salem 1 3 21
Hinsdale 0 4 26

The top two teams advance to the championship game.

Ties are broken based on records in head-to-head competition among tied teams. If a clear winner cannot be determined from head-to-head results, the tie is broken by calculating the ratio of runs allowed to defensive innings played for all teams involved in the tie. The team with the lowest runs-per-defensive-inning ratio advances.

In the event of a tie involving three or more teams, once the initial tie is broken, the remaining tied teams are again compared on head-to-head record to determine if a clear winner can be identified. If no clear winner can be identified from head-to-head results among the remaining tied teams, the runs-per-defensive-inning ratio is again used. This process is repeated until all ties have been broken.

Illinois State Championship Game (Monday, July 28)

Jackie Robinson West 10, Moline National 3 (TITLE)


It would be negligent to tell the story of the 2008 Jackie Robinson West Little League all-star team without first touching base with the league's past. For the past was ever-present at Glen A. Koehler Field in Bartlett, where Jackie Robinson West defeated Moline National Little League, 10-3, on a warm summer evening to claim the Illinois state championship in the major baseball division.

Perched just beyond the cluster of players in the first base dugout stood the boy whose desire to play baseball more than three decades earlier led to the founding of a league that is now a South Side institution. Except this boy, now a forty-something father of two, serves today as the league's treasurer. A few feet away, inside that dugout, stood his younger brother. This man followed in the footsteps of his father not only professionally, but also in the task of shepherding his young players both inside and outside the pristinely manicured lines of the baseball diamond.

Between those lines was a gaggle of youngsters who marched from their district tournament opener through the state championship contest without losing a game. Twenty-five years after the glorious summer when Jackie Robinson West's all-star team advanced to the Little League World Series, another generation of players came tantalizingly close to reaching the same destination.

And outside the lines, behind the protective chain-link fence and beyond the cinders of the outfield's warning track, were countless individuals who once stood where these children now took their positions. One man had been in the lineup the day Jackie Robinson West won its first-ever state championship, a big league baseball division title in 1978. Now he watched from outside the fence as his son helped lead his team to the league's twentieth Illinois crown.

Perhaps nowhere is the historical continuum as relevant as in a league where the past informs the present, and the present builds the future.

The seed for Jackie Robinson West's success was planted in 1971. Six-year-old Bill Haley wanted to play baseball, but there wasn't an organized league in his Morgan Park neighborhood on Chicago's far South Side. So Haley's father, Joseph, took it upon himself to create one. There was just one team the first season, and Bill was still a couple of years away from being old enough to play. He served as the batboy on the first team, but soon assumed his patrol at second base. And Joseph Haley's Jackie Robinson West Little League -- the 'West' being necessary to distinguish it from a Jackie Robinson baseball program then active in an adjacent neighborhood -- began to take root.

Jackie Robinson West has long been one of Illinois' most successful Little League programs. When catcher Steve Robinson caught the game-ending pitch in their win over Moline National, Jackie Robinson West became just the third Illinois league to win four state championships in the major baseball division. More importantly, while amassing those championship flags, the league became engrained into the DNA of the community it serves. At one point during the 1990s, you could obtain a Jackie Robinson West-themed license plate from the state of Illinois. That single team in 1971 grew into a comprehensive program that served 500-plus players when Joseph Haley, still at the helm, succumbed to cancer in 2005.

Fittingly, after Joseph Haley's passing, the boy who sparked the league's genesis took over the reins, along with his younger brother. Bill Haley may look after Jackie Robinson West's finances, but he also serves in a more influential capacity: he's Mr. Haley. Joe Haley -- like his father, an assistant principal at a nearby elementary school -- has long been active as well, including as the manager of the league's 2008 all-star team. A quarter-century earlier, Joe Haley had traveled with his father to South Williamsport, and watched from the Lamade Stadium grandstand as Joseph Haley piloted his team to a fifth place finish in the Little League World Series. And while Williamsport always beacons on the horizon, Joe Haley realized over time that the league's mission lays much closer to home.

"My father said he really wanted to use the league as a vehicle to show sportsmanship, community pride, and give the kids something positive to do and see role models," explained Joe Haley during the 2008 international tournament. "It just happened that the winning came... It was not the design of the league, to win (19) state championships. That's not designed. It just happened, and the main focus is to have the kids in a positive environment."

While the league wasn't designed for tournament success, Jackie Robinson West's 2008 major baseball all-star team was certainly built for it. The team's nucleus had finished second in the state in the 9-10 year old division in 2005, and its roster featured four key returnees, including the top pitchers, from a team that finished third in the 2007 major baseball state tournament. In 2008, the team added to Jackie Robinson West's considerable tournament legacy.

Wendall Ferguson struck out eleven batters in four innings, and opened the scoring with a two-run homer as Jackie Robinson West pounded Moline National, 10-3 in the state championship game. The win, Jackie Robinson West's fifth in as many games at the state tournament, and twelfth in a row since the start of the international tournament, advanced the league to the Great Lakes Region tournament in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Ferguson helped Jackie Robinson West jump to an early lead. Mike Kendrick lined a double that two-hopped the left center field fence with one out in the first inning, then Ferguson volleyed a 3-1 pitch in the same direction but well beyond the fence. Moline countered in the bottom of the inning, pulling one run back when Brett Johnson doubled to right field and adding another when the Moline shortstop dashed to the plate uncontested as the Jackie Robinson West defense regrouped following his hit.

Ferguson then bore down, striking out the next seven hitters, and eleven of the next fourteen before exhausting his pitch count. Reliever Darien Clifton closed out the game by fanning five over the last two innings.

"Wendall and Darien are just special players," said Joe Haley after the tournament. "You notice at an early age their potential. We had pitched Wendell against Moline the first game, and during our off day we were discussing about mixing it up and starting Clifton, then bringing Wendall in to close. Wendall looked me in the eye and said, 'Coach that's my game; I want the ball'. The rest is history. I watched Wendall warm up -- he was so focused I thought he might go out and throw a no-hitter or at least a shutout."

Clifton's work behind the plate was equally critical. Veteran Little League tournament managers will point to the importance of solid catching in minimizing base running gimmies, and Jackie Robinson West was charged with just one wild pitch in the game – no easy feat with a power pitcher on the mound. The only passed ball occurred after Clifton had switched to the mound.

"Clifton is the best twelve-year-old old catcher we've had in a long time," said Joe Haley. "He allowed Wendall to throw any pitch he wanted.

"Clifton was excited to come in to finish the game." added the Jackie Robinson West manager. "I was happy to get both of them on the mound for the state championship."

While Ferguson mowed through Moline's hitters, Jackie Robinson West's offense broke the game open with a five-run flurry in the third. After a groundout opened the inning, seven of the next eight batters all reached on base hits, as Jackie Robinson West sent eleven batters to the plate and scored five runs. Clifton opened the scoring with an RBI double off the base of the left field fence, and first baseman Marcellus Sneed bounced a single through the hole in the right side of the infield to score two more. Rohman Williams and Kyle Barrett followed with singles to load the bases, then pinch hitter Semaj Patterson lined a ground rule double that just eluded a diving Moline center fielder before skipping over the fence.

"Usually the second time our top comes up we get a few hits," noted Joe Haley. "But that night it was just contagious. The kids wanted this game so bad. All of the hits were big because they ignited each player who came to bat... Patterson coming through with a bases loaded double was priceless. Very seldom does the pinch hitter in Little League work. Being down three runs is big but now (leading by) five in the state championship is huge."

Jackie Robinson West converted four walks and a pair of wild pitches into three more runs in the fifth, then Clifton sealed the title by striking out the side after Justin Rumley tripled and scored to leadoff the sixth.

Jackie Robinson West had opened the state tournament with a 5-1 win over Moline National, then quickly clinched one of the five-team tournament’s championship game berths with 4-0 and 7-1 victories in their next games. They closed round-robin competition with an 8-6 victory over Hinsdale Little League.

"Each game except for Hinsdale our pitchers really controlled the games," said Joe Haley, who watched Hinsdale tally all of its runs in the latter innings to match the total number of runs Jackie Robinson West had allowed in nine games to that point in the international tournament. "Jumping out to an early 8-0 lead made us relax and think more about the championship game."

Moline -- which claimed a state title of its own in 2008, as the league's 9-10 year old all-stars won that division's state crown -- bounced back from their tournament-opening loss to Jackie Robinson West with a pair of victories, then climbed into the title game by rallying in the final inning to scrape past Libertyville National Little League, 7-6.

The next night, Moline could not overcome the powerful arms of Ferguson and Clifton, and Jackie Robinson West claimed the major baseball state championship in the 25th anniversary of the league's Little League World Series team. But the connections between Jackie Robinson West's storied past and rich present run much deeper.

"Mike Kendrick's father played on Jackie Robinson West's first state championship team in 1978 (in the big league baseball division)," noted Joe Haley. "Darien Clifton's father coached our last state championship team in the junior league in 2003. (Diontrell) Earls' and Ferguson's fathers coached with me in 2005 and 2007, (and) have also coached in Jackie Robinson West for 15 years."

Mike Kendrick, Sr., Mike Clifton, Dion Earls, and Raynell Ferguson -- not to mention Bill and Joe Haley -- are just a few of the strands binding Jackie Robinson West's past to its present. And as the spotlight shifts to the league's Class of 2009 -- and the nucleus of players that claimed the league's 21st state championship by winning Illinois' eleven-year-old crown less than a fortnight after the memorable night in Bartlett -- the ties will extend like a familiar vine reaching toward the future. If you were to scan the names of the eleven-year-olds playing in Jackie Robinson's league in 2008, you'll come across a familiar name. Adam Haley -- grandson of the league's founder, and son of the man who inspired all that has come since. And Adam has been bugging his father with an urgent question: when will he be old enough to coach his own team?

From a small seed planted over three decades ago, the garden continues to bloom.

Follow Jackie Robinson West at the Great Lakes Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.


  Game 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Moline National 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Jackie Robinson West 0 0 2 2 1 x 5 7 0
  Game 2
Hinsdale 0 2 2 0 0 0 4 5 1
Libertyville National 2 0 0 0 5 x 7 4 1
  Game 3
Salem 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
Jackie Robinson West 0 0 2 0 2 x 4 5 0
  Game 4
Hinsdale 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Moline National 1 2 0 0 1 x 4 7 1
  Game 5
Jackie Robinson West 1 0 3 0 3 0 7 6 0
Libertyville National 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 1
  Game 6
Moline National 0 1 6 1 2 10 12 0
Salem 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
  Game 7
Salem 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Libertyville National 3 0 0 0 0 x 3 4 1
  Game 8
Jackie Robinson West 3 3 1 1 1 1 10 11 1
Hinsdale 0 0 0 4 2 0 6 9 1
  Game 9
Libertyville National 1 0 2 0 3 0 6 11 3
Moline National 0 0 2 0 1 4 7 8 2
  Game 10
Hinsdale 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 4 0
Salem 2 1 1 0 1 x 5 8 0
  Championship Game
Jackie Robinson West 2 0 5 0 3 0 10 9 1
Moline National 2 0 0 0 0 1 3 3 2

2008 Illinois District Champions and Sectional Tournament Results

District Champions
in Section 1
District Champions
in Section 2
D1 - Salem
D2 - Unity (Tolono)
D3 - Red Bland (Taylorville)
D17 - Rushville

Section 1 Tournament
Host - Dale Teubner Memorial (Springfield) (District 3)

Tournament Results:
1 - Salem d. Rushville
2 - Red Bland 7, Unity 1
4 - Rushville 12, Unity 5 (elim.)
3 - Salem 7, Red Bland 6
5 - Rushville 6, Red Bland 3 (elim.)
6 - Salem 8, Rushville 2 (TITLE)

D9 - LaGrange
D11 - Hinsdale
D15 - Burbank American

Section 2 Tournament
Host - Burbank National (District 15)

Tournament Results:
1 - Hinsdale 17, LaGrange 0
2 - Hinsdale 4, Burbank American 3
3 - LaGrange 9, Burbank American 8 (elim.)
4 - LaGrange 9, Hinsdale 2
5 - Hinsdale 12, LaGrange 2 (TITLE)

District Champions
in Section 3
District Champions
in Section 4
D4 - Jackie Robinson West (Chicago)
D6 - Lansing
D7 - Hegewisch (Chicago)
D8 - Evergreen Park

Section 3 Tournament
Host - Evergreen Park (District 8)
At Norris Field

Tournament Results:
1 - Evergreen Park 7, Lansing 4
2 - Jackie Robinson West 14, Hegewisch 2
3 - Jackie Robinson West 3, Evergreen Park 0
4 - Lansing 5, Hegewisch 4 (elim.)
5 - Evergreen Park 6, Lansing 5 (elim.)
6 - Jackie Robinson West 6, Evergreen Park 3 (TITLE)

D10 - River Forest
D13 - Crystal Lake American
D16 - Libertyville National

Section 4 Tournament
Host - Mundelein (District 16)
At Keith Mione Community Park

Tournament Results:
1 - River Forest 7, Crystal Lake American 3
2 - Libertyville National 6, River Forest 5
3 - River Forest 13, Crystal Lake American 10 (elim.)
4 - River Forest 7, Libertyville National 6
5 - Libertyville National 11, River Forest 5 (TITLE)

District Champions
in Section 5
D5 - Moline National
D18 - Manteno
D19 - Sterling
D20 - Mendota

Section 5 Tournament
Host - Knights of Columbus (Kankakee) (District 18)
At Oley Longtin Field

Tournament Results:
1 - Manteno 9, Mendota 0
2 - Moline National 3, Sterling 0
3 - Moline National 10, Manteno 0
4 - Mendota 3, Sterling 0 (elim.)
5 - Manteno 9, Mendota 2 (elim.)
6 - Manteno 2, Moline National 1
7 - Moline National 2, Manteno 0 (TITLE)

Toward the past

Toward the present

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Last revision: 06/13/2009