The Oak Park Panthers travel baseball team, comprised mainly of 10 year olds and promising 9 year olds from the Oak Park Youth Baseball and Softball Mustang Baseball League, made it to the final round of the Elmhurst 16th Annual Cougar Classic Tournament.
The Panthers, over five games Friday through Sunday, played hard-nosed, competitive baseball and were the only team to beat the eventual champions, the Carol Stream Cougars, winning 12-5 with a dominating performance.
Led by timely hitting from Eddie Yousif, Will Hoffenkamp, Sam Knight, Anwar Thornton, Evan Beebe and Braxton Jenkins, the team had little trouble scoring runs through most of the tourney.
The starting pitching from Matthew Testore, Matthew McCartney, Conor Johnson and Thornton was also solid, while Beebe at third base and Tyler Heggans in centerfield played nearly flawless defense.
Carol Stream avenged its loss to the Panthers on the final day, winning in the tournament’s semifinals as the Panthers bats and gloves both went cold. The Panthers narrowly lost the third-place consolation game in an exciting, see-saw battle with the Wheaton Saints.
The Panthers are coached by Sam Yousif and Luke Thornton.