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12u TEAM Heads to Cooperstown and Finishes STRONG

By Willie James, 08/13/18, 9:45AM PDT


The 2018 12u Coop team departed for Cooperstown, NY on August 2nd ready to experience the time of their lives.  After a long day and a half of travel, the boys finally got into Cooperstown Dreams Park on Friday evening.  Saturday began with an early morning workout,and concluded with opening ceremonies and the skills competitions.  Kaleb S. participated in the home run derby, Cooper ran in the roadrunner, and Mikah S. performed in the throwing accuracy competition.  All competed well, but did not advance to the Finals this year.

The tournament began with a matchup against a Minnesota team.  After a scoreless first inning, the team exploded with a 14 run 2nd inning highlighted by a 3 run homer by Sean S. to get the team rolling.  Braden S., Cooper, Vincent R. and Robert C. also hit their first home runs in the game. Sebastian L. paced the way giving the team 4 solid innings on the mound and going 3 for 3 in the 25-3 win.  James O. opened the scoring with an RBI single and finished the game with 2 hits.

Next up on Day 1 was the Silicon Valley Xtreme out of California.  This was going to be a tough game, so the team went with staff ace Braden S. on the mound and he did not disappoint holding our opponents to 1 run over 6 innings for an 8-1 victory. Kaleb S. and Sebastian L. each had two hits, and Vincent R. and Devon G. collected 2 RBIs each to pace the offense.

The team was happy at 2-0 on day one, but day two provided a different story.  The team first played Show Baseball out of Massachusetts and our opponents came out swinging the bats putting the team away 13-0.  Later that evening was a matchup with the undefeated Chicago Lightning.  The team battled hard thru 4 innings keeping the game tight, but the Chicago powerhouse proved too tough to handle and they pulled away for a 15-5 victory.  Devon G. continued his hot hitting week with 2 more hits in the game.

Sitting at 2-2, the team had a key game against the LaSalle Titans out of Canada.  The boys played well scoring in every inning and Devon G. went the distance for a 14-2 victory. Everyone contributed offensively including Sebastian L. with 2 more hits.  Sean S. and James O. reached base 3 times, and new players, Lucas S. and Mikah S. each had their first 2 hit games of the week.

The night game for the day was against the 5-0 Parkland Pokers of Florida, and it was once again Sebastian L. on the mound.  He did his job as the score was tied thru 3 innings but the Pokers eventually overwhelmed the team for a 22-4 victory.  Devon G. was able to hit his first home run of the week in the game.

Now sitting at 3-3 and getting the 53 seed it was time for the playoffs.  The boys knew when they woke up, it would take 4 wins to get to the sweet 16 on Thursday, and that was the goal.  The alarm clocks did not go off and the team came out flat against the Marlton Cardinals, the 100 seed.  Thankfully, Robert C. was in attendance, and threw his first complete game for LVBA earning the 5-2 victory.  Cooper and Devon G. provided what little offense we had, but it was enough for the victory.

After advancing, and with the rain coming down, the boys got a boost of energy as we played the 48 seed out of Indiana.  Robert C. continued his hot day with 3 hits, Sebastian L. recorded two hits, and Cooper had two hits as the middle of the lineup did the damage for this game.  From there, Kaleb S. handled the rest going 5 strong innings, and Cooper closed it out for an 11-4 upset victory.

Now, on to the 3rd game of the day against the Tustin Mets of California.  In what can be described as one of the most incredible games, this coach has been a part of, this LVBA team left it all on the line.  Just an incredible effort from top to bottom.  Robert C. again, with a 2-homer game, including a grand slam in the 8th inning that put the team up 5 at the time.  Braden S. with a tremendous start on the mound, giving us what he could for 5 innings and leaving with the lead, that was in part provided by his clutch 2 out 2 run homer in the 3rd inning.  Sean S. coming up with 2 clutch hits driving in go ahead runs late in the game.  Kaleb S. providing a 2 out RBI single in extra innings.  And Vincent R. playing with a special place in his heart catching all 20 innings for the day and still providing 2 hits in the final game.  As well as James O., who struggled in the middle of the week, but banged two wall balls in the game and getting on base 3 times and Cooper in his 4th outing of the tournament getting us to the 7th and 8th innings with gutty efforts on the mound.  The team lost 13-12 to finish their Cooperstown run, but the efforts of the day will hopefully carry on with them for years to come.  Another special trip to as Mikal Hunter calls it, “Baseball Disneyland.”

Robert C. was named Offensive Player of the week with a .345 batting average, 3 HR’s, led the team with 10 RBI and scored 9 runs.  Other offensive stars were Sebastian L. with a .476 average, Cooper hit .400 for the week, Lucas S. hit .500 for the week in limited action due to an injury and Devon “AC” G. showed up and hit .460 for the week.  Mikah S. earned the Defensive Player of the Week, playing a stellar 3rd base and shoring up our infield defense.  And a special mention to Braden S. who went 11 innings with a 1.6 ERA for the week.  Quite an effort all the way around.  Very proud of this group of boys who turned into young men this week.