Standrowicz Leads Team to Championship  
Thursday, October 10, 2002
THURSDAY, OCT. 10 TELEGRAM & GAZETTE 2002
So I've Heard Column


Take the excitement of the recent Little League World Series, with the success of Worcester's Burkett League, and transfer this to the 2002 Pony Bronco League World Series at Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and you've got the baseball side of a remarkable story.
Chad Standrowicz, 12, son of Steve and Donna (Cyganiewicz) Standrowicz, of Oak Park, Calif., an infielder-pitcher, played with the West Coast Rebels, winners of the recent Pony League World Series in Cooperstown. Chad played a significant role in the tournament.
Young Mr. Standrowicz, the grandson of Marjorie and Raymond E. Standrowicz, and Barbara A. and Joseph J. Cyganiewicz, all of Dudley, nearly missed the championship series, according to his paternal grandfather. He came close to losing his life in an accident July 4 at Zuma Beach in the Los Angeles area.
Chad and a half-dozen friends were covering each other with sand. Lying feet to feet with one of his buddies, Chad Standrowicz watched as others piled large mounds of sand on their legs, said Raymond Standrowicz. Then, play nearly became fatal.
The dry sand collapsed and Chad was completely buried alive, his paternal grandfather said. Lifeguards, his young friends and others managed to dig him out but he had inhaled sand, and grains had lacerated his eyes. His parents were elsewhere on the beach. "I heard people screaming because he was purple," a newspaper quoted Donna Standrowicz. "It seemed like forever from there."
Chad was flown by helicopter to the UCLA Medical Center. Someone pumped Chad's heart while he was on the copter, keeping him clinically alive, said Raymond Standrowicz. Doctors suctioned about half a cup of sand from his lungs, and he remained in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit for three days, according to his grandfather.
"They can't believe he's alive and fine," Mr. Standrowicz said, reading a newspaper quote attributed to his daughter-in-law. "There's no brain damage...It's a miracle." Chad left the hospital without any prohibitions on activity or baseball. He recovered fully.
"He bounced right back," said his paternal grandfather. A frown turned to a wisp of a smile as Mr. Standrowicz related the baseball side of Chad's story.
"He had a tremendous season."
Young Standrowicz had a .405 batting average through the regular season, playing mostly second base. He pitched three plus games, posting a 2.5 ERA.
Comprised mostly of players from the Northridge Little League and the Agoura Bronco League, the Rebels, a team of 12 year old and under All-Stars, qualified for the 64-team tournament of champions at Cooperstown, N.Y.
"Talk about a lot of baseball in a short time," said Raymond Standrowicz. "Eight games in four days." It was also a family gathering, he said. "Steve and Donna rented a cottage and we all stayed there, me and my wife, Joe and Barbara (Cyganiewicz) and all the kids." Steve and Donna arranged vacation time, Raymond Standrowicz said. She works for Blue Cross, Blue Shield and he's director of product sourcing for Skechers Footwear, headquartered at Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Bringing two generations from California and another from Dudley together was a big plus, said Raymond Standrowicz. They were naturally interested in Chad's play, said his grandfather. "We were all mindful of what he had been through." Pride in Chad's performance was natural but, somehow, it was secondary to the family's gratitude for his miraculous recovery from a near death experience.
Playing games day and night, the West Coast Rebels stacked up against the Cooper City, Fla., Diamond Kings, the number one seed, in the tournament finals. The Rebels came into the tournament seeded 6th, according to Raymond Standrowicz. "There were so many games we got tired going from one field to another, and we weren't even playing." The Cooperstown complex, complet
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