It’s hard to think of a way in which the Londonderry Athletic Field Association (LAFA) 12-U All-Star baseball squad could have headed off on its annual trip to a huge tournament in Cooperstown, NY in a better state of mind.
Last Thursday night, July 19, the local hardball squad capped off an undefeated run at the Tyngsboro, Mass., tournament by narrowly besting a strong Lowell Highlands’ team in the title game. And the next day they were on the road headed to the cradle of baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as one of more than 100 baseball teams from the United States and Canada playing in the massive international tourney.
The huge Cooperstown event began on July 20 and runs through this Friday the 27th, with the Londonderry crew testing its considerable mettle against some of the finest competition there is to find.
Mere hours after the win in the Massachusetts tourney, head coach Tim Dodge got and savored the chance to speak proudly of his talented charges.
“The team went 6-0 in the tournament and played great in every game,” said Dodge. “We won the finals 2-1 over a very good Lowell Highlands team. I’m very proud and happy for this group of kids. Every one of them contributed during the tournament, and they ended their local all-star season on such a high note. They have been through a lot this year, and this was an outstanding finish.”
Looking ahead to the international tourney in Cooperstown, coach Dodge added, “This week should be a great experience for the team, coaches, and families.”
Making the trip to the hallowed ground which holds the baseball hall of fame also took a lot of off-the-field work and fundraising for the locals. But it all paid off with the opportunity to play in week eight action at the Cooperstown Dream Park once again.
The all-star squad’s roster includes Taylor Dodge, Joey Cafaro, Michael Thistle, Michael Maloney, Colin Parent, Matthew Traynham, Sammy Bernardini, Liam Stott, Drew Heenan, Spencer Nelson, Mary Croteau, and Drew Fuller. The assistants to head coach Dodge are Greg Thistle, Chuck Fuller, Ray Croteau, and Pete Cafaro.
As that skilled crew works toward succcess in Cooperstown the already electric atmosphere there will reach a fever pitch as the hall of fame rolls straight into induction weekend 2018 with Detroit Tigers’ legends Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, ex-California Angels’ superstar Vlad Guerrero, Atlanta Braves’ record-holder Chipper Jones, former Cleveland Indians’ slugger Jim Thome, and ex-San Diego Padres relief ace Trevor Hoffman all set to be inducted, with past inductees in attendance.