Berwyn Bandit's guilty of reading and winning

BERWYN – There's a bunch of Bandits in Berwyn who really know how to steal attention from the community's leaders.

Members and parents of the Berwyn Bandits youth baseball team were summoned before the the Berwyn City Council Oct. 1 to get what the team members had coming to them as a result of a spree of victories on the ballfield and a rash of reading that was committed by the team's 12 members, all between the ages of 8 and 9.

The team was undefeated in its house league and won several regional tournaments, from Burbank to Des Plaines. It wasn't that Mayor Robert Lovero couldn't appreciate a winning ball team, but it was their commitment to reading that piqued the mayor's interest.

Coach Steve Fitzsimmons said it was early in the season at a parent’s meeting that one of the parents talked to about kid’s losing reading and writing skills over the summer. So, the coaches assigned baseball-related written homework and made participation in the CARES writing program mandatory.

All 12 kids wrote baseball stories and read them aloud to their peers and parents in June at contest co-sponsor, Over the Rainbow on Windsor Ice Cream Parlor.

Lovero awarded each player with a hand-signed copy of the proclamation and a copy of the book, “Guys Read: Sports,” by Jon Scieszka, a web-based literacy program to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.

“We could not be more proud to hear the mayor recognize the efforts of these boys to make Berwyn a stronger community,” Fitzsimmons said.

2013 Bandit team members include: Manny Arellano, Joey Bennett, Arturo Chavez, Kevin Fantozzi, Cam Fernandez, Jayden Fitzsimmons, Angelo Garcia, Rodney Lester, Zeke Lopez, Julian Sumner, Alex Uribe and Anthony Zuniga.