(CBS) – They are perhaps the finest youth baseball team you’ve never heard of.
We were all captivated by the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars as they made their triumphant run through the Little League World Series. But there is another group of 12-year-old Illinois boys who also won a national championship, albeit in obscurity — until now.
CBS 2’s Rob Johnson introduces us to the Lake County Lightning baseball team.
The 12 and under travel team won the invitation-only baseball league in the northern suburbs this year. But that was only the beginning.
The team steamrolled through various tournaments in the state, region, and nation, before heading to Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“This is very big-time,” says Jerry Fox, who runs the Lake County Lightning organization.
The Lightning went 10-0 in the tournament against 40 other teams from around the country to win the national title, finishing the season with a 66-3 record.
When CBS 2 invited the team to talk about their heroics, it was obvious they were much more than great teammates — they were great friends.
“I think what made us so successful is our chemistry and we learn and help play with each other,” Michael Kocen says.
The Lake County Lightning has teams for youngsters aged 9 to 15.
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