Crystal Lake Goes Deep to Win SLCS!

By
Updated: August 13, 2017

CRYSTAL LAKE HERALD

SPORTS – GNATS NOW
Crystal Lake Goes Deep to Win SLCS!
Updated: November 13, 2025 – 12:55PM CST

By Howard Heskin, Staff Writer – Twitter @HowardHeskin1

Crowds of people flowed out of local pubs into the streets of Crystal Lake to celebrate victory in game 7 of the Sovereign League Championship Series tonight. Crystal Lake, Illinois fans are excited to be now just 4 wins away from their second PEBA Championship in team history after years of being on the losing end of series like this one. Crystal Lake fans are left wondering have these last 2 seasons been real?

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After falling behind 2 games to 3 in the best of 7 series against Aurora, four time All-Star Miguel Cantú dug deep after a tough game 2 loss at Aurora. In game 2 he gave up two earned runs, only to be bested by future hall of fame pitcher Michel ‘Train Arollin’ Provost. This time in the game 6 re-match, Cantú gave up only four hits and one earned run over 6.2 innings to Provosts six hits and two earned runs. Crystal Lake was finally able to get to Provost with some small ball in the 7th inning beginning with a Jim ‘Bizarre’ Klein lead off single. Team Captain, Klein, then stole second before Jerry Long proceeded to foul off 6 pitches before grounding out. Jarrod ‘Merlin’ Ricks brought the magic by driving in Long with a double. After a Raúl Uribe single, Rubén Memde kept the inning alive by driving in another run with a double to put Crystal Lake ahead 2-1. Raúl Uribe added a very much needed insurance run with a monster 429ft home run in the top of the ninth off of Ryan ‘Stork’ Holbrook.

The Crystal Lake bullpen (5 pitchers) combined through the end of the 6th, 7th and 8th innings to limit Aurora to one hit, setting up the 9th inning for Ramón ‘Doberman’ Contreras who proceeded to allow two hits, one run and narrowly escape with the save.

Crystal Lake then entered game 7 placing the ball into 2024 hero Tony “Mr. Nice Guy” Cuellar‘s hands for the start. Game time weather was a brisk 28 degrees with a stiff 17MPH wind. Jerry Long warmed things up with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Aurora then struck back scoring 3 runs in the 2nd inning to take a 3-1 lead. Then, in the top of the 5th inning, Jerry Long struck again with a 430ft, two run home run to tie the game. Aurora then quickly took the lead back in the bottom of the 5th with a Pedro Ferringo RBI double to take a 4-3 lead. Aurora then struck again in the 7th with a Jesús Negrete solo home run to take a 2-run lead.

Then we come to the top of the 9th for a moment that will live in Crystal Lake’s memories for a long time. Rookie Ed Brown set it up with a single against Aurora closer John Gray for a next at-bat by former Aurora prospect Jack Speed. Speed swung and missed on the first pitch and then, “CRACK” he launched a 394ft two run home run – his second of the playoffs after hitting only two home runs all regular season – to tie the game 5-5.

“It was like 10 degrees out there… I have no clue how I hit it, but I did”, stated Speed after the game.

The game then moved into the 10th inning, after Crystal Lake held off Aurora in the bottom of the 9th, where, 2025 Wild Card MVP Rubén Memde would launch a two run home run to place Crystal Lake ahead 7-5. This would be Memde’s 6th home run of the playoffs and 4th home run of the SLCS.

“I’m just happy to be here”, stated Memde “I’m glad Crystal Lake brought me back to the organization.” Memde made his PEBA rookie debut at 22 years of age back in 2019 before being traded to San Antonio before being traded back this past off-season.

Aurora would put up a fight against Edgar Merriam playing their typical small ball game, where they usually cut a team to death, scoring one run. However, Merriam would find a way to get Mike Britt to line out for a double play to end the game sending shock-waves through the hearts of Crystal Lake fans everywhere.

“I’m just glad that’s over, “Big Whiskey”, is always a tough out. I hear its warmer in Jacksonville?!”

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Crystal Lake will need to quickly regroup with only one day off before heading to Jacksonville against the Florida Featherheads, who won the Imperial League with a 4-2 series victory over Hartford.