The Ducks were created in the early 70’s by teacher and varsity baseball coach Skip Borkowski as a local Oak Lawn area team. Many of the original players were either Oak Lawn Community HS graduates or teachers. The Ducks won over 75% of their games over the years, but win or lose, could always be found enjoying some beers and camaraderie after the game at the local tavern sponsors.
In the early 80s, the Ducks were evolving from a strong “A” team into a competitive Major team. They always had good athletes who played hard, but fair softball, recruiting quality players with the help of players Larry and Jack Kelly and a few of the Kelleher brothers. Additional recruiting help from Byrd Arquilla helped secure the “Stud Ducks” team of the mid to late 80s.
The USSSA Nationals helped groom the core members for major competition, finishing as high as 4th, with several other very good showings. The Ducks played in top leagues on the Southside, as well as weekly major tournaments, averaging 80+ games per season.
Underdogs at the 1986 ASA major nationals in Mt. Prospect, IL, the Ducks played hard, smart and with a team mentality to make their dreams come true and capture the biggest championship of the year. Playing against the country’s best, they beat the Whips in the semis and Renegades in the finals of the winner’s bracket before facing the pre-tour nament favored Coopers – loaded with 11 future Hall of Famers – for the title. After their first loss in the double-elimination tournament, theDucks found their groove to win the one they had to, beating Coopers 7-3, holding them to just 4 hits. In the title game, early run-scoring hits by Rick Omiesinski, Larry Czachor and Vern Scapelli, combined with a two run hit from Ray Vacario gave them a lead they never lost. Fine pressure hitting from Jeff Metz,
Al Caan and Bill Dvorak, plus good pitching and fielding by Chip Borkowski and solid hitting and defense from Rich Ross, Mike Norris and Jerry Kelleher all contributed to the “Miracle in Mt Prospect”.Beating the odds in the most highly regarded tournament of the year, with the perfect blend of young talent and experienced veterans, the Ducks played their best when it counted most. Nobody else can claim they were the ASA Major National Champs in 1986. That Ducks team made lifetime memories of how it felt to be the best of the best in 16-inch softball – at least for a while.