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Alumni weather water hazard

Kaneland alumni Ty Hamer, Drew Peters and Bobby Thorson helped the Crystal Lake Cardinals summer baseball team take preventative action in last weekend's Toledo, Ohio water scare.

Before city officials urged residents to avoid their faucets because of a reported contaminant, the trio already was adept in run differential.

In fact, that's how Crystal Lake emerged with the National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series title after a shortened tournament in Toledo.

With Saturday's bracket play and Sunday's championship canceled, Crystal Lake won the 16-team title via tiebreaker after outscoring opponents, 39-2, in three pool victories. The tournament's only other unbeaten team, the River City (Mich.) Rapids, outscored opponents, 37-10.

Teams were notified of the ruling this week. Although Crystal Lake players understood the events at hand, that still didn't completely temper frustrations.

"You never thought that would be the reason that we were having to head home early," said Peters, a left-handed pitcher. "It was almost worse than losing, basically."

The Kaneland trio still made the short trip a productive one. Thorson, recovered from a torn ACL he suffered with the Cardinals in 2013, earned tournament MVP honors as a right-hander and corner infielder.

Five other Cardinals, including Hamer, a righty, joined Thorson on the all-tournament team, giving Crystal Lake a Series-high six honorees.

That's the ultimate tournament legacy for the Cardinals, even if the trip seemed to take a Murphy's Law tack at times.

The bus transporting the Cardinals from Crystal Lake to Toledo arrived late. Once the team reached its destination, it had to check into a different hotel when the rooms the Cardinals thought they had booked already were rented.

A few hours before the Cardinals' scheduled bracket play opener against Orville's (N.Y.) at 9 a.m. Saturday, tournament officials announced the rest of the Series was canceled.

"We knew it was really unfortunate timing," Peters said. "Everything was unfortunate timing."

Except for one matter, that is. With Thorson (Campbell) and Hamer (Nebraska-Omaha) both approaching their senior collegiate seasons, this summer marked the last time Peters could play alongside the former Knights on a college team.

"This was a good opportunity to play with both of them, and I'm really glad I did it," Peters said.

Peters, who spent the past two seasons at Elgin Community College, will take a full-time spot on Bradley's fall roster in a bid to join the team as a junior in the spring of 2015.

Shortly after returning home from Toledo, he traveled to sign with the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters for the final week of the collegiate Northwoods League season.

"Just to keep throwing and get my work in," Peters said.

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