Team Highlights

Oakton baseball culminates championship season with ring ceremony
(Oct. 4, 2018) Oakton Community College’s championship baseball team (44-17) culminated a spectacular season with the official ring presentation ceremony Saturday, Sept. 29, at its Des Plaines campus baseball field.

At the start of the 2018 season, Oakton’s baseball squad sought to “return to conquer” with a goal of winning 40 games. The Oakton Owls surpassed all expectations by earning their first first-ever national championship in dramatic fashion during the final game of the 2018 NJCAA Division III World Series by dethroning Tyler Junior College back in June.

Before the ring ceremony, Oakton Athletic Director Bruce Oates applauded head coach Bill Fratto and his players for an incredible accomplishment – being the first baseball team in school history to bring a national title to campus.

“You are the champions for all of 2018-2019, and we couldn’t be more proud,” Oates said to the players and those who crowded the bleachers for the presentation. “There must be some baseball superstition as I asked the players if they wanted to see the rings beforehand. All the players said, ‘no, no, no.’ However, now this is your moment in the sun.”

Fratto, who played at Oakton for two seasons before graduating in 1981, boasts a 472-256 record in 13 seasons with the Owls. He beamed with pride before officially handing each player and coach with a championship ring.

“This team is so very special,” Fratto said. “They set the standard of all baseball teams at the college. They spent each day in the training room and batting practice to get better and worked their butts off to get this championship. I couldn’t be happier for them, and as an alum of the college this means a lot to me personally.”

As a team, Oakton established a school record with 44 wins in a single season, surpassing the previous record of 43 from in 2012. The Owls also set single season records for innings pitched (459) besting the previous record of 454 set in 2012 and at bats (1,887) eclipsing the previous best of 1,847 set in 2012.

Offensively, the Owls clicked on all cylinders. The team finished second in the nation in runs scored (503), walks (289) and sacrifice flies (31) and third in hits (632), extra base hits (187), at bats (1,887) and total bases (932). Also, Oakton tallied 425 RBI and 45 home runs while amassing a .335 team batting average.

Postseason accolades poured in for Fratto as the Wheeling resident was named the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and Diamond Sports the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III National Coach of the Year. Fratto also was named World Series Coach of the Year after the Owls’ performance.

After the presentation, fireworks rang out representing the big bang the team made on the college and the community.

“When you win a title, the ring symbolizes unity and getting something accomplished,” Fratto said. “This is an incredible group of athletes and it was amazing to see the players accept these beautiful rings. Also, it was very exciting to be together as a team for one last time.”

In a heart-felt gesture, hitting coach Mickey Scala made sure that Fratto received recognition at the ceremony.

“Without Bill, we wouldn’t be here today,” Scala said. “He’s put his heart in soul into Oakton for so many years. We appreciated everything you do and your dedication to the team.”

Looking ahead to defending the Owls’ championship, Fratto remains cautiously optimistic.

He returns a key cog in the form of first baseman “Dangerous” Dan Sullivan (Palatine, Saint Viator High School), who led the Owls in almost every key offensive category including homers (13), batting average (.399), RBI (71), hits (81) and slugging percentage (.719). In addition, Marco Romero (Santiago de Leon de Caracas, Caracas Venezuela), who led the team in at bats (204) and stolen bases (26) while also contributing with 40 RBI, a .358 batting average, plans on again patrolling the outfield. Outfielder Trevor Heinlein (Chicago, Saint Patrick High School) also will be a key contributor in 2019 after his season in which he batted .318, knocked in 29 RBI and compiled a .506 slugging percentage to go along with 11 stolen bases.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be a strong team with these three players returning,” Fratto said. “We’ll just have to see how the season plays out as all the athletes get faster and stronger.”


Thirteen Oakton baseball players to continue playing at four-year colleges

Owls national champion baseball team to be recognized prior to Aug. 19 Chicago White Sox game.
(Aug. 15, 2018) After Oakton Community College’s National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III World Series championship baseball team (44-17) was recognized before a recent Chicago Cubs home game, the Owls’ “victory tour” continues Sunday, Aug. 19, when the team will be honored before the Chicago White Sox game at 1:10 p.m. against the Kansas City Royals. Now, 13 players from that squad have committed to continue their playing careers at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, II or III and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) institutions.

“This past season was extremely special, winning Oakton’s first national title,” says Oakton head baseball coach Bill Fratto. “The accolades keep rolling in for Oakton’s 2018 team, and we’re proud to receive such recognition for a stellar season.”

Heading the list of transfers is NJCAA Division III World Series MVP pitcher Tommy Gertner (Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School), who will be playing for the Old Dominion University Monarchs, an NCAA Division I school that competes in Conference USA. Gertner, who earlier this year was named to the NJCAA Division III All-America Second Team, finished second in the country in wins (10) and strikeouts (103). He pitched 14 1/3 innings, struck out 12 batters and allowed four earned runs in the World Series.

Head coach Bill Finwood notes on the Monarchs website that Gertner will play a key role for his team in the upcoming season: “Tommy is a big, strong left-handed pitcher who really attacks the strike zone and has a good feel for his secondary pitches…We expect Tommy to compete for spot in the starting rotation.”

Four Oakton players will continue their playing careers for NCAA Division II schools. Infielder Sawyer Price (Colorado Springs, Colorado, Air Academy), infielder Timo Schau (Park Ridge, Maine South High) and pitcher Jackson Fischer (Westmont, Westmont High School) have all committed to Southern Wesleyan University, while infielder Lucas Karz (Mount Prospect, Prospect High School) has his eyes set to play at Erskine College. Price batted .324, totaled 28 RBI and four stolen bases in 49 games for the Owls in 2018. Schau hit .348, drove in 31 runs and stole 15 bases in 57 games. In 17 appearances, Fischer compiled a 4.63 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings. Karz tallied a .305 batting average, 38 RBI, six home runs and three steals in 50 games for the Owls.

Infielder Gianfranco Sorrentino (Norridge, Ridgewood High School) plans on attending NCAA Division III Concordia University Chicago. Sorrentino compiled a .319 batting average, eight RBI and four stolen bases in 37 games for the Owls last season.

First Team NJCAA All-America pitcher Alexander Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School) heads the list of seven Oakton players continuing their playing careers at NAIA institutions. Crinigan, who will be attending University of South Carolina Beaufort, tossed two scoreless innings to earn the win in Oakton’s 13-inning 14-11 World-Series-clinching game against Tyler Junior College. He led the nation in wins (12), strikeouts (107) and innings pitched (98 1/3). In 2018, Crinigan shattered individual team pitching records with wins, innings pitched (98 1/3) and strikeouts.

Third baseman Jose Vera Sanchez and catcher Pablo Custodio, who both hail from Guatemala City, Guatemala, plan to attend Cumberland University. In 39 games, Vera Sanchez boasted a .397 batting average, 46 RBI, with six home runs and two stolen bases. Custodio played in 45 games and batted .353, delivered 42 runs, cranked 11 homers and swiped two bases.

Other players attending NAIA schools include infielder/outfielder Nico Torres (Bolingbrook/Riverview School), outfielder Miles Porter (Evanston/Evanston Township High School), infielder Chris Broccolino (Schaumburg/Schaumburg High School) and pitcher Chase Pearce (Kokomo, Indiana/Kokomo High School). Torres, who plans on moving on to Texas College, amassed a .323 batting average, 10 RBI and two stolen bases for the Owls in 2018. Porter intends to transfer to Roosevelt University after hitting .302 with eight RBI and one stolen base in 19 contests. Broccolino produced a .337 batting average, 36 RBI and four stolen bases for Oakton in 54 games and looks to continue his playing career at Robert Morris University Illinois. Pearce made 10 appearances on the mound for Oakton compiling a 7.15 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings and is moving back home to play at Indiana University Kokomo.

“All the players have a special place in school history, and I’m proud of everyone from the team. The players moving on will have great success, and I’m grateful for all their accomplishments,” Fratto adds.

Oakton’s Fratto named 2018 ABCA/Diamond National Coach of the Year
(July 11, 2018) The American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and Diamond Sports have named Oakton Community College head baseball coach Bill Fratto the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III National Coach of the Year. Fratto, a resident of Wheeling, guided the Owls to a historic 2018 season that culminated with the team’s first national championship and a school record 44 wins in his 13th season at the helm.

“This is a great honor to be recognized by the ABCA and Diamond as the national coach of the year,” Fratto says. “Winning the national championship was a great achievement, and this award is icing on the cake. I would not have won this award without the help of my players and coaches. I am so grateful to them for helping me earn this prestigious recognition.”

In the Owls’ national championship season, Fratto’s squad finished second in the nation in runs scored (503), walks (289) and sacrifice flies (31) and third in hits (632), extra base hits (187), at bats (1,887) and total bases (932). Also, Oakton tallied 425 RBI and 45 home runs while amassing a .335 team batting average.

Under Fratto’s tutelage, pitchers Alexander Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School) and Tommy Gertner (Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School) were named to the NJCAA Division III All-America Team. Crinigan earned a selection to the first team while Gertner received second-team accolades. Crinigan also was announced as the 2018 Spalding® NJCAA Division III Pitcher of the Year earlier this year.

“Congratulation to Bill for being recognized as coach of the year,” Oakton Athletic Director Bruce Oates says. “This is a well-deserved honor for all of his years of hard work and effort he has put into building the Oakton baseball program into a national powerhouse.”
The Owls’ 44-17 record in 2018 pushed Fratto’s career mark to 472-256, a .648 winning percentage. He was named World Series Coach of the Tournament and also Region IV Division III Coach of the Year. Fratto, who attended Oakton, is a three-time Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year, earning that distinction in 2006, 2012 and 2015. During his coaching career at Oakton, his teams won the Skyway Conference championship four times, in 2006, 2012, 2015 and 2016. The Owls also made NJCAA Region IV Championship appearances in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2015 in addition to winning regional, district and NJCAA Division III World Series championships in 2018.

With Fratto’s guidance, dozens of players have been named all-conference and all-region selection and advanced to compete at NCAA Division I, II and III institutions. In addition, several players have gone on to play professionally and have been drafted by numerous Major League Baseball teams including the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds.

Fratto will be honored at the ABCA Convention in Dallas on Friday, January 4, 2019.

The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. With approximately 10,000 members, the organization represents all 50 states and 23 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches 73 years ago, the association’s annual award program has grown to nine divisions: NCAA Division I, II and II; NAIA; NJCAA Division I, II and III; Pacific Association Division and high school.

Oakton’s Crinigan Named NJCAA Division III Pitcher of the Year
(June 26, 2018) The list of awards for Oakton Community College pitcher Alexander Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School) keeps growing as the sophomore hurler was announced as the 2018 Spalding® National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Pitcher of the Year on Monday, June 25.

Crinigan, a key cog in guiding Oakton to its first baseball national championship this past season, led the nation in wins (12), strikeouts (107) and innings pitched (98 1/3). In addition, the right-hander shattered individual team pitching records with wins, innings pitched (98 1/3) and strikeouts, surpassing the previous records set respectively by Ryan Stobart (9) in 2006, Ken Lowden (84 2/3) in 2012 and Derek DeYoung (104) in 2012.

“I was shocked when I found out I was named Pitcher of the Year,” Crinigan said. “I honestly didn’t see this coming, but it’s a great feeling. I had a great year, but I couldn’t have won this award without my teammates behind me. When my team scores over eight runs per game it just makes my job easier.”

Already this season, Crinigan was named to the NJCAA Division III All-America First Team as well as the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) All-Conference First Team.

Crinigan credits much of his success this season to the addition of a new pitch to his repertoire.

“I worked hard in the offseason to develop a new pitch, the curve ball,” said Crinigan, who averaged 9.79 strikeouts per game. “That set up my bread and butter pitch, the slider, and led to racking up more strikeouts.”

Bill Fratto, Oakton head coach, said this is just another feather in Crinigan’s cap.

“Alex has been a stud for our program,” he said. “He has worked extremely hard to accomplish all that he has achieved this past season. On and off the field, Alex is a tremendous leader and always wanted the ball in clutch situations. He is a coach’s dream and I am so proud to have him in our program. Winning the national championship is a dream season, but the dream began with Alex taking the mound as an Oakton Owl.”

Crinigan is uncommitted to where he will pitch at the next level but said he will make a decision within the next few weeks.

Oakton Owls pitchers receive NJCAA All-American honors
(June 18, 2018) Oakton Community College baseball pitchers Alexander Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School) and Tommy Gertner (Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School) were named to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III All-America Team. Crinigan earned a selection to the first team while Gertner received second-team accolades. Both pitchers played a vital role in the Owls’ (44-17) historic season that culminated with the team’s first national championship.

Crinigan, a sophomore who earned the win in Oakton’s dramatic 14-11 victory in the clinching game against Tyler Junior College by tossing two scoreless innings after the Owls posted three runs in the top of the 13th, led the nation in wins (12), strikeouts (107) and innings pitched (98 1/3). In addition, he shattered individual team pitching records with wins, innings pitched (98 1/3) and strikeouts, surpassing the previous records set respectively by Ryan Stobart (9) in 2006, Ken Lowden (84 2/3) in 2012 and Derek DeYoung (104) in 2012.

Providing an ideal complement, Gertner, a freshman, finished second in the country in wins (10) and strikeouts (103). He also was named the most valuable player in the 2018 World Series, where he pitched 14 1/3 innings, struck out 12 batters and allowed just four earned runs.

Bill Fratto, Oakton head coach, said the honors are well deserved.

“Both Alex and Tommy were key cogs in the Owls winning the national championship,” he said. “Their stats were off the charts as they combined for half of Oakton’s wins. I’m extremely proud of them, as they are bulldog players who know how to come up big and handle pressure situations.”

This summer, Crinigan, who has two offers from National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics colleges, will pitch for the Waukegan-based Homestead Ranchers of the Chicago Suburban Baseball League while contemplating his next move. Meanwhile, Gertner is expected to return to the Owls next season to help defend their title.

All-America selections are made by the NJCAA Division III Baseball Committee.

Owls Win First-Ever NJCAA Division III World Series Crown
(June 1, 2018) Oakton Community College (44-17) overcame seven errors and four Tyler Junior College (33-29) game-tying comebacks before prevailing 14-11 in 13 innings and earning the Owls' first-ever national championship in the 2018 NJCAA Division III World Series.

“This win hasn’t sunk in yet,” Oakton head coach Bill Fratto said. “To be the last team standing is pretty special, especially after a hard-fought game. Our players didn’t want to quit. They didn’t put pressure on themselves and just enjoyed the moment. Right now the Owls are flying high, and we can’t wait to bring the championship back to Oakton. This is the ultimate accomplishment for us.”

Alexander Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School) allowed no hits and just one walk in two scoreless innings to earn the win after the Owls posted three runs in the top of the 13th.

“Alex is a gamer,” Fratto said. “He’s a tough competitor and the right guy to be on the mound to bring it home for us.”

In the five-hour marathon, Oakton scored its 14 runs on 23 hits. Second baseman Christopher Broccolino (Schaumburg, Schaumburg High School) went 5-for-7 with an RBI and three runs scored. Third baseman Jose Vera Sanchez (Mixco, Guatemala, Guatemala Academy) had a 2-for-8 day at the plate tallying three RBI.

Starting pitcher Tommy Gertner (Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School, gave Oakton all he had, pitching 7 1/3 innings. He allowed six hits, surrendered just two earned runs, fanned six and walked four.

Oakton captured the national title by outscoring its opponents 43-14 over five games. The Owls took two of three games against the four-time-defending national champion Apaches in the series. 

“It was a total team effort to beat a program like Tyler,” Fratto said. Not only did we dethrone the national champions but we were able to defeat them twice in the tournament.”

The Owls were well-represented on the World Series All-Tournament Team, which included Marco Romero (Caracas, Venezuela, Santiago de Leon de Caracas), Broccolino, Dan Sullivan (Palatine, St. Viator High School), Pablo Custodio (Guatemala City, Guatemala, Futeca High School) and Gertner, who was the most valuable player. Fratto was named World Series Coach of the Year after the Owls' performance. 

A celebration for Oakton's record-setting season is being planned upon the team's return.

Oakton Baseball Still a Win Away from NJCAA Division III World Series Title
(May 30, 2018) The usual lively bats of Oakton Community College’s baseball team were stymied as the Owls (43-17) were held to just five hits in a 12-2 loss in the NJCAA Division III World Series championship game against Tyler Junior College (Texas) on Wednesday, May 30. The good news for the Owls is this was their first loss in the double elimination tournament, and they can still claim their first-ever national title by defeating the Apaches in a 7 p.m. EDT game Thursday, May 31.

Catcher Pablo Custodio (Guatemala City, Guatemala) was a bright spot offensively for Oakton, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run in the fourth inning to plate the Owls first run.

The generally reliable starting pitcher, Alex Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School), who already has a win and a save in World Series play, was tagged with the loss.

Crinigan labored in the first inning, throwing 43 pitches while giving up two runs on three hits. He concluded the night surrendering six earned runs on eight hits and walking four batters on 109 pitches over five innings.

Oakton’s usual reliable bats in the clutch were held in check, as the Owls went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. This was the first time in four games that Oakton trailed in World Series play.

Southpaw Tommy Gertner (Northrook, Glenbrook North High School), who picked up the win in the Owls second game of the World Series, should get the start in Oakton’s do-or-die game against the defending champions.

Watch Oakton World Series baseball games live on television via NJCAA TV apps for Amazon, Apple TV, Android and Roku, which will allow you to watch the livestreamed events via TV. The apps are available as free downloads through the Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Play Store on Android TV, the App Store on Apple TV, and as a Streaming Channel on Roku.

Navigate to find Oakton’s games within the app. Links to download the app can be found below:

Oakton Advances to NJCAA Division III World Series Championship Game
(May 29, 2018) The Oakton Community College baseball team grinded its way to the national championship game of the NJCAA Division III World Series by defeating Tyler Community College (Texas) 3-2 on Tuesday, May 29.

“We knew this would be a close game playing the defending national champions,” Oakton head coach Bill Fratto said. “But we knocked them out, and we’re now playing for a national championship. I’m so incredibly proud of this team. We put ourselves in a good position, but we’re not done yet.”

Oakton starter Luis Savigne (Miami, Brito Miami Private School) earned the win, throwing 120 pitches while facing 31 batters in the process. Savigne (7-2) pitched six innings, surrendered six hits and allowed no earned runs. He also punched out five batters and walked six Apaches.

“Luis really gutted it out for us,” Fratto said. “We needed six innings from him, and that’s what he gave us. He did a good job and eventually settled down on the mound after some jitters.”

Alexander Crinnigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School), the winning pitcher in Oakton’s first game of the tournament, picked up his third save of the year after recording the last two outs of the game.

“Alex is a bulldog,” Fratto said. “He’s a special kid a program gets once in a long long time.”

Relief pitcher Jackson Fischer (Westmont, Westmont High School) did a stellar job out of the bullpen, striking out two and allowing two hits over 1 2/3 innings. He was clutch in the seventh getting out of a bases-loaded jam by recording the last out of the inning on a fielder’s choice.

First baseman Dan Sullivan (Palatine, Saint Viator High School) went 2-for-4 and got the scoring going driving in Trevor Heinlein (Chicago, Saint Patrick High School) with a double to right center in the bottom of the first. Second baseman Christopher Broccolino (Schaumburg, Schaumburg High School) put Oakton ahead 2-1 in the fourth with his RBI single to right. Third baseman Jose Vera Sanchez (Guatemala City, Guatemala) closed out the scoring for the Owls with his solo home run to left in the sixth.

Oakton (43-16) not only set a school record for wins in a single season with the victory, but also ended the Apaches’ 18-game win streak in World Series play. Owls pitching held Tyler at bay, stranding 16 opposing batters on base while holding the Apaches to just 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

“We’ll be playing for the national championship tomorrow and looking to bring a title back to Oakton,” Fratto said. “Our team is not overconfident. Getting that last win is always the hardest.”

Watch Oakton World Series baseball games live on television via NJCAA TV apps for Amazon, Apple TV, Android and Roku, which will allow you to watch the livestreamed events via TV. The apps are available as free downloads through the Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Play Store on Android TV, the App Store on Apple TV, and as a Streaming Channel on Roku.

Navigate to find Oakton’s games within the app. Links to download the app can be found below:

Oakton Continues Winning Ways at World Series
Greeneville, Tennessee (May 28, 2018) The Oakton Community College baseball team's recipe for success this season—timely hitting and great pitching--continued as the Owls defeated Rockingham Community College 12-2 in second round action of the NJCAA Division III World Series, May 28, in Greeneville, Tennessee.

Right fielder Marco Romero (Caracas, Venezuela) put on an offensive clinic, going 4-for-5 and driving in four runs while scoring three runs. He salted the game away with his three-run home run to right field in the eighth inning.

On the mound, workhorse Tommy Gertner (Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School) picked up his 10th win of the year. Gertner fanned six batters, gave up four hits and allowed just two runs over seven innings.

In Oakton’s two games so far in the national title scene, the Owls have outscored opponents 24-9. In today’s win, the Owls (42-16) tied a school record for victories in a single season, first accomplished in 2010 under head coach Bill Fratto.

The Owls are scheduled to play Tyler Community College (Texas) at 9 a.m. EDT Tuesday, May 29, with the winner advancing to the championship game at 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 30. 

Watch Oakton World Series baseball games live on your television via NJCAA TV apps for Amazon, Apple TV, Android and Roku, which will allow you to watch the livestreamed events via TV. The apps are available as free downloads through the Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Play Store on Android TV, the App Store on Apple TV, and as a Streaming Channel on Roku.

Within the app you can navigate to find Oakton’s games. Links to download the app can be found below:

Oakton Opens World Series With Win
Greeneville, Tennessee (May 26, 2018)  The No. 4 seeded Oakton Community College baseball team jumped out of the gate to an 8-0 fourth inning lead over Northampton Community College en route to a 12-7 victory in the Owls' first-ever appearance in the NJCAA Division III Baseball World Series in Greeneville, Tennessee, on Saturday, May 26.

First baseman Dan Sullivan (Palatine, Saint Viator High School) put the game out of reach in the fourth with his three-run homer to left center, putting the Owls (41-16) ahead by eight.

Pitcher Alex Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School) notched his 11th win of the season. The right-hander pitched 6 2/3 innings, struck out five and allowed five earned runs.

Oakton will play a winner's bracket game, Game No. 7, Sunday against Rockingham. The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EDT. 

Watch Oakton World Series baseball games live on your television via NJCAA TV apps for Amazon, Apple TV, Android and Roku, which will allow you to watch the livestreamed events via TV. The apps are available as free downloads through the Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Play Store on Android TV, the App Store on Apple TV, and as a Streaming Channel on Roku.

Within the app you can navigate to find Oakton’s games. Links to download the app can be found below:

 

Oakton Baseball to Compete in NJCAA Division III Baseball World Series
(May 21, 2018) 
Oakton Community College’s baseball team has a lot to hoot about as the Owls will be participating in the 2018 NJCAA Division III Baseball World Series, May 26-31, at Pioneer Park in Greeneville, Tennessee. The Owls captured their first-ever trip to nationals by defeating Schoolcraft College in the NJCAA District B Championship May 19-20 at Wayne State University in Detroit.

In the two-game sweep, the Owls outscored the Ocelots 29-10. Pitcher Alex Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School) fanned nine batters over seven innings to notch his 10th win of the season in Oakton’s 17-8 victory on Saturday, May 19. On Sunday, pitcher Tommy Gertner (Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School) did not allow an earned run, striking out four batters over six innings to improve to 9-1 on the season in Oakton’s 12-2 clinching victory.

First baseman Dan Sullivan (Palatine, Saint Viator High School) provided plenty of offensive fireworks, going 7-for-9 with two home runs and being named MVP of the NJCAA District B Championship.

“This is mind blowing to be part of history,” an elated Sullivan said. “During the tournament, I was in the zone and seeing the ball well. I just wanted to make each at bat count. Playing in the World Series, no matter what kind, is the dream of every kid who plays baseball.”

Oakton (40-16) is now just one of eight teams standing. While the brackets won’t be determined until later in the week, the Owls will be competing against other teams from across the nation including Tyler Junior College (29-27), Rockingham Community College (23-19-1), St. Cloud Technical & Community College (19-7) and Northern Essex Community College (26-14).

“For all my years in coaching, this team set a standard for other teams to come,” Owls head coach Bill Fratto, who was named NJCAA District B Coach of the Year, said. “To advance this far is a total team effort. The kids are playing outstanding baseball at the right time. The team is on cloud nine, but there is still work for us to do.”

Sullivan said the team’s success this season has a lot to do with chemistry.

“Every time a player steps in the batter’s box, our team is going crazy cheering, whether we’re up 10 runs or down by 10,” Sullivan explained. “We’re just extremely positive and believe in ourselves and our teammates.”

The Owls practice Tuesday and Wednesday before departing for Tennessee on Thursday.

“This is the beginning of a new season for us,” Fratto said. “We’ll be playing with the best teams in the nation, but we have a lot of horses who can get it done. The goal is to bring a national championship back to Oakton.”

Sullivan said the team is optimistic about competing on the big stage.

“There may be some first-inning jitters when we start playing, but once we step on the field everyone has a job to do,” he said. “We’ll compete hard and keep doing what we’ve been doing all season–putting up runs in every inning.”

Watch Oakton World Series baseball games live via NJCAA TV apps for Amazon, Apple TV, Android and Roku, which will allow fans to watch the livestreamed events via TV. The apps are available as free downloads through the Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Play Store on Android TV, the App Store on Apple TV, and as a Streaming Channel on Roku.

Within the app, fans can navigate to find Oakton’s games. Links to download the app can be found below:

Oakton wins first NJCAA Region IV baseball title
Owls two wins away from advancing to NJCAA Division III World Series
(May 14, 2018) The Oakton Community College baseball team is just two wins away from competing in its first NJCAA World Series after winning its first-ever NJCAA Division III Region IV Championship. The Owls (38-16) now travel to Wayne State University in Detroit to face Schoolcraft College (16-30) in the Division III District B Championship May 19-20.

In the three-day Region IV Tournament hosted by the Owls May 11-13, Oakton outscored opponents 33-18 and distinguished itself with pitcher Alex Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School) tossing a no-hitter in a 6-0 victory over Joliet Junior College on Friday, May 11.

“Throwing a no-hitter is exciting, especially in the playoffs,” says Crinigan, who notched nine strikeouts in picking up his ninth win of the season and was named 2018 Region IV Tournament MVP. “I trusted in my teammates and couldn’t have done it without them. I knew the players would have my back. It was just a crazy day.”

Owls head coach Bill Fratto adds,” Alex’s performance was unbelievable, and he hit all his spots. That game definitely set the tone for us and gave us a lot of confidence.”

In Saturday’s winner’s bracket game, Oakton opened with a 6-2 victory over Elgin Community College behind pitcher Tommy Gertner (Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School), who threw a complete game, scattering three hits while striking out seven despite enduring a two-and-a-half hour rain delay.

The Owls faced Elgin in the championship of the double-elimination tournament Sunday. The Spartans jumped out to an 11-0 lead after four innings, but Oakton rallied to make it close, falling 14-11 with the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth. In the deciding game Sunday evening, pitcher Jackson Fischer (Westmont, Westmont High School) picked up his fifth win, going five innings while fanning seven and giving up four earned runs in the Owls’ 10-6 victory.

“Our team is playing its best baseball at the right time,” Fratto says. “We’re not only getting great pitching but our offense is very potent. Any one of our hitters is capable of going yard.”

The winner of the District B Championship, a best-of-three format, will advance to the 2018 NJCAA Division III Baseball World Series May 26-30/31, at Pioneer Park in Greenville, Tennessee. Two games will be played Saturday with the first at noon EDT, followed by the second game, which will begin 30 minutes after the completion of the first contest. If needed, one game will be played Sunday at noon.

“Our team is hungry and is eager to compete for a national championship,” Fratto says. “Even though Schoolcraft may not have the best record, we’re not going to take them lightly. This Oakton squad is the first to win an NJCAA Region IV Championship. Now we’re just two wins away from playing in the World Series. The players are focused and can’t wait to take the field again.”

Fratto earned some recognition of his own as he was named NJCAA Region IV Coach of the Year after the tournament.

“This is definitely a nice honor for me, but I wouldn’t have won it without my coaching staff, who do a tremendous job to help me,” Fratto says.

Oakton baseball to host NJCAA Region IV Tournament as top seed starting May 11
(May 7, 2018) By sweeping Illinois Valley Community College by the scores of 9-1 and 13-4 on its home field in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region IV Sectionals on May 5, Oakton Community College’s baseball team advanced to the NJCAA Region IV Championship. The top-seeded Owls will host the next round of the tournament Friday through Sunday, May 11-13, at the Des Plaines campus, 1600 E. Golf Road.

With the most recent wins, Oakton (35-15) will compete in the double-elimination tournament, along with Joliet Junior College (30-21), Elgin Community College (26-18) and Rock Valley Community College (31-20). The Owls will entertain Joliet at noon (Game 1) Friday, May 11, and Elgin will face off in against Rock Valley (Game 2) at 3 p.m. Depending on the outcomes, contests on Saturday, May 12 are scheduled at 9:30 a.m. (Game 3: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser), 12:30 p.m. (Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner) and 3:30 p.m. (Game 5: Game 4 loser vs. Game 3 winner). The championship will be decided on Sunday, May 13 at noon (Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner) and 3 p.m., if necessary. The winner will advance to NJCAA District B Championship, scheduled May 19-20 at the site of the Region XII winner. That victor would represent the district in the 2018 NJCAA Division III Baseball World Series, May 26-30/31, at Pioneer Park in Greenville, Tennessee.

To get to the Region IV Championship, the Owls starting pitching stymied the Eagles. In game one, sophomore Alexander Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School) pitched a gem to improve to 8-2 on the season. He allowed no earned runs over eight innings while fanning 11 and surrendering six hits. In the second contest, Tommy Gertner (Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School) upped his record to 7-1 by pitching seven innings, striking out seven and giving up two earned runs. Offensively, first baseman Dan Sullivan (Palatine, Saint Viator High School) provided plenty of offense tallying nine RBI (including two homers) in the sweep.

“Our team was focused and clicked on all cylinders against Illinois Valley,” Owls head coach Bill Fratto said. “In the playoffs, we rose to the occasion, and I couldn’t be happier the way the team took control.”

Oakton already holds victories over Rock Valley and Elgin during the regular season but has not faced the Wolves during the 2018 campaign.

“We’ve beaten some good teams during the season and have a lot of confidence going into Friday,” Fratto said. “We’ll be ready to compete and keep our momentum going. This has been an unbelievable year so far and we want to keep going as far as we can. I’m excited about the possibilities and hope to bring a championship to Oakton.”

Oakton baseball ranked No. 10 in the nation; hosts sectional playoffs May 5
(May 2, 2018) In the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Baseball Poll released on May 1, Oakton Community College’s baseball team (33-15) is ranked No. 10.

The Owls went 6-3 during the week of April 23, outscoring opponents 68-43. This is the third time this season Oakton has been nationally ranked. Oakton’s highest ranking came in the poll released on March 27, when the Owls checked in at No. 9

“Being nationally ranked is a prestigious honor for us,” Owls head coach Bill Fratto says. “We’ve been playing good ball of late, and that’s a credit to our players and coaching staff. There’s a lot of good teams out there, and we’re peaking at the right time.”

Fratto is hoping that momentum carries over to this weekend, when the top-seeded Owls host the NJCAA Division III sectionals at the Des Plaines campus, 1600 E. Golf Road. Oakton will take on Illinois Valley Community College (16-30) in the best-of-three playoff. Game one is scheduled at noon Saturday, May 5, with the second game commencing at 3 p.m. If needed, game three will be played at noon Sunday.

The Owls swept IVCC in a doubleheader on April 29. However, Fratto knows playing the Eagles again will be a battle even though Oakton boasts a .739 winning percentage on its home field.

“In the playoffs you can’t take anyone lightly,” he says. “We’ll be fighting for our lives. If we lose two games to IVCC our season will be over. It’s playoff time, and we’re on a roll of late and looking for our guys to stay hot. Saturday will be ‘go time,’ and the team will be confident and ready.”

As a team, Oakton is averaging 8.4 runs per game with a .325 batting average and .471 slugging percentage. First baseman Dan Sullivan (Palatine, Saint Viator High School) leads the Owls with 49 RBI, a .664 slugging percentage and seven homers.

Oakton baseball back in the national rankings
(April 18, 2018) In the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Baseball Poll released on April 17, Oakton Community College’s baseball team is ranked No. 11.

During the week of April 9, the Owls went 4-1, outscoring opponents 41-18. This is the second time this season Oakton has been nationally ranked. In the poll released on March 27, the Owls checked in at No. 9.

“We’re proud for the players and the coaching staff who have worked so hard to gain national recognition this season,” Owls head coach Bill Fratto says. “Being ranked among some great athletic programs is a remarkable achievement, and we hope to climb the ladder as the season progresses.”

As a team, Oakton (20-9) is averaging 7.7 runs per game with a .325 batting average and .460 slugging percentage. First baseman Dan Sullivan (Palatine, Saint Viator High School) leads the Owls with a .400 batting average, 24 RBI and 34 hits (15 for extra bases).

“The key for us is to stay focused, and with the talent we have, this team can make it far in the postseason,” Fratto adds.

Oakton baseball ranked No. 9 in the nation
(March 28, 2018) In the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Baseball Poll released on March 27, Oakton Community College’s baseball team checks in at No. 9.

During the week of March 19, the Owls went 2-0 with victories over South Suburban College and Elgin Community College.

“We’re proud to be nationally ranked, which is where we belong,” says Owls head coach Bill Fratto. “After a poor finish last year, we’re focusing on regaining our swagger.”

As a team, Oakton (10-5) is demonstrating its offensive prowess, averaging 8.1 runs per game with a .338 batting average and .468 slugging percentage.

“Our team is really coming together and playing consistent ball,” says Fratto. “There’s still a long way to go in the season, but the arrow is definitely pointing up for us.”

Oakton baseball expects to ‘conquer’ and has high expectations for 2018 season
(March 2, 2018) The Oakton Community College baseball team is ready to ‘return to conquer’ after coming off a 2017 season that saw the Owls struggle with injuries and tough losses en route to a 25-28 season.

Head coach Bill Fratto (428-229), now in his 13th season, has built a winning tradition at Oakton and says he is ready to put the anomaly of a losing season behind him: “We want to regain our swagger this year, and with the experience of 15 sophomores, we have the ability to compete for a Region IV championship and head far in the playoffs.”

Sophomore outfielder Tom Corlett (Park Ridge, Maine South High School) likes the way the Owls are shaping up for the season.

“We have a lot of depth, and we have a very strong team,” Corlett says. “We’re going to be very tough to play against this year.”

Fratto says that returning infielders Chris Broocolino (Schaumburg, Doral Academy), who batted .318; Sawyer Price (Colorado Springs, Colorado, Air Academy), who compiled a .306 batting average; and Lucas Karz (Mount Prospect, Prospect High School), who registered a .287 batting average, are expected to lead the way offensively.

Freshmen outfielder Trevor Heinlein (Chicago, St. Patrick High School), infielder Jeff Mustari (Des Plaines, Maine West High School), catcher Victor Pimentel (Calvary Christian Academy, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), outfielder Marco Romero (Caracas, Venezuela), catcher Jack Splett (Wheeling, Wheeling High School), first baseman Dan Sullivan and infielder/outfielder Jose Vera are each expected to make an impact at the plate.

On the mound, the Owls return three key starters from last season who combined for 13 wins: Alex Crinigan (Hampshire, Hampshire High School), Russell Langan (Park Ridge, Maine South High School) and Chase Pearce (Kokomo, Indiana, Kokomo High School). Freshmen Tommy Gertner (Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School), Luis Savigne (Hollander, Florida, West Park High School) and Joe Sullivan (Mundelein, Mundelein High School) will compete for the last two spots in the rotation. Sophomores Bailey Egan (Chicago, Mount Carmel High School) and Kyle MacRae (Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School) will play vital roles out of the bullpen.

“We have good depth in our pitching staff and it will be important to see who emerges as the season continues,” Fratto says. “We will go as far as our pitching staff takes us and our bullpen will play a huge role in our team’s overall success.”

The Owls open the season with two games against Century College at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis Monday, March 5, before embarking on a 10-game spring trip to Florida March 10-17. Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference play begins at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 23, at Elgin Community College.

“I can’t wait to see how this team unfolds, as the players have worked extremely hard to prepare for the season,” Fratto says. “We just need to be focused on playing consistent baseball and get back to winning 40 games.”