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Baseball fever returns to Janesville

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JOHN N. BARRY
August 4, 2011
— Janesville’s motto is the “City of Parks.” Maybe that should be changed to the “City of Ballparks.”

Baseball fever has hit the city. Once the cornerstone of sports in the community during the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, baseball is thriving again.


And on the 60th anniversary of Babe Ruth baseball, it’s only fitting that Janesville is a big part of it.


Janesville’s 14-year-old tournament team won the Ohio Valley Regional title Wednesday, earning a berth in the Babe Ruth World Series in Glen Allen, Va., beginning Aug. 20. The local 14s will play the Middle Atlantic champion at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20.


The Ohio Valley Regional title comes on the heels of state titles this summer for Janesville’s 9-year-old team, 11-year-old team and 13-year-old team.


“All you had to do was look in the stands to see the great support we got from the people of Janesville,” Janesville 14-year-old coach Ron Kobs said. “Every kid on our team was represented by somebody, whether it was a parent, grandparent, or a fan of the game that drove down to see us play.


“We probably outnumbered every other team in the tournament as far as fan support by a 2-to-1 margin. That support played a huge role in our success. The kids fed off of our fans.”


The 14s will enter the World Series without tasting defeat. Although pushed to the brink in an exciting 5-4 win over South Lexington (Ky.) in the Ohio Valley Regional championship game, Janesville has not lost a game this summer.


Nick Blomgren pitched the last inning for Janesville in the championship game. He won the Ohio Valley Regional MVP trophy thanks to a win, two saves and a batting average higher than .600.


Despite the individual accolades, Blomgren only wanted to talk about the team and the last out of the game. Janesville second baseman McCauley Cox snared a bad hop grounder with the bases loaded and threw to first to end the game.


“McCauley kind of saved me there with that play. That was an incredible play,” Blomgren said. “After that, we all just threw our gloves up in the air and ran around hugging and jumping on each other.


“A lot of hard work went into this. Our coaches, parents and our great fans that came down here to watch us made it all possible.”


As Babe Ruth Baseball celebrates 60 years, the “City of Ballparks” is joining in the fun.



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