Just in time to start summer, the boys of the 12U Virginia Squires travel baseball team traveled to the home of baseball, the place where baseball idols are left for future generations, Cooperstown, New York, where it participated in the Cooperstown Dreams Parks 12U baseball tournament June 7-13.
Cooperstown Dreams Park, with its 22 fields and one grand stadium, is just minutes from downtown Cooperstown, New York, and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Each week during the summer, 104 teams from across the country travel to the Dreams Park. Days are full with photo shoots, opening ceremonies, skills challenges, and, of course, six games in three days followed by a single elimination tournament that will crown a champion.
Wins, losses, and championships are not the measure of the experience in Cooperstown, but rather the experiences itself, brought by the game of baseball played at a historic location within the foothills of New York.
For one week, 1,000-plus 12-year-old baseball players bond with others, trading pins, playing whiffle ball on the lawn, sleeping in barrack style dorms (one team in each), eating in the community dining hall and walking from field to field for the game of baseball.
The Cooperstown trip built memories for the Virginia Squires, memories to last a lifetime and set the stage for future 12-year-old Squires to attend and experience the magical feeling found throughout Cooperstown, where dreams are lived.
Dreams were lived for the 12 players of the 12U Virginia Squires while in Cooperstown. Trading pins are the big hit. Teams’ custom design pins to showcase their own brand were traded with players from the other 103 teams in attendance.
Early in the morning, between games, at lunch, dinner, late at night, no time passed where pins were not being traded among players, siblings and families.
Such a simple gesture as trading pins, thrown in with baseball, created social opportunities with players from around the country. Beyond the Dreams Park, into the town of Cooperstown, pins were traded with store workers and even at the Baseball Hall of Fame, a must-do item for all baseball fans.
For the 12 kids, three coaches and family members who made the trip, touring the Baseball Hall of Fame left a lasting impression. Seeing items from Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones, and all 323 players who have been enshrined in baseball history, is priceless, and words can’t describe it.
Also, nestled behind Main Street, almost hidden within town, lies Doubleday Field, named after Abner Doubleday, which is considered the birthplace of baseball. The Virginia Squires set to out to play baseball, but gained far more about the game that they have grown to love.
In addition to the memories made off the field, on the field saw its own level of success and milestone accomplishments for many. No, the win column was not overflowing, but nor was it a zero.
The memories of the experiences, such as hitting first-ever career home-runs, will last forever. Mason Rush led the team in three of four major offensive categories, landing a .538 batting average, scoring eight runs, and drawing five walks during the week.
Junior Powell led the Squires with eight RBIs and three homeruns. Logan Smith and C.J. Farley led the Squires in hits with 10 each.
Six of the 11 players surpassed the coveted .400 batting average, to MLB historic standards. They include: Rush (.538), Smith (.526), Farley (.526), Powell (.500), Lukas Newton (.467) and Jacob Runion (.400).
The team as a whole collected a batting average just over .425, making the efforts offensively a total team effort.
Other team members that made the trip included Austin Reid, Carter Thomasson, Evan Carwile, Jaharie Edmonds, and Paul Irby. The Squires hit 12 home runs in the week with four players, Rush, Runion, Thomasson and Edmonds, adding their name to the home run list with the first in their careers.
Throughout the summer, teams from across the country travel to Cooperstown to showcase their baseball ability. So much more than performance will develop because of the game of baseball. Cooperstown Dreams Park was built by a “coach” that wanted all kids to have the opportunity to experience baseball at its best and fulfill dreams, and for the Virginia Squires surely dreams were lived.