On Saturday, Aug. 24, 13 12-year-olds, accompanied by four coaches and one umpire, will become the first Little League team from Braintree to participate in the Cooperstown Classic tournament in Cooperstown, New York, at Cooperstown Dreams Park.
Braintree American Little League’s 12-year-old B travel team, along with head coach Bernie Walsh and assistant coaches Mike Freeman, Mike Derrane, and Tom McArdle, will be among one hundred other 12-year-old baseball teams from across the country playing on twenty two fields all within Dreams Park in Cooperstown.
The 12 B team is heading into the tournament after a successful final year of Little League participation, featuring a championship victory at the Braintree B Invitational Tournament and an appearance in the twelve year old Suburban League Finals.
The kids will get to show off their individual talent in the skills competitions
the day before tournament play begins. However, the real challenge lies in the seven games the team will play over a span of four days, determining their seeding in the single-elimination Championship Tournament.
Coach Bernie Walsh has been working with these boys for the past four years, watching them grow into fantastic baseball players. He has nothing but good things to say about his team.
“They’re such a great group of boys who work hard together, respect each other and know how to win," Walsh said.
Assistant coach Tom McArdle also praised his team, adding, “The Cooperstown Tournament will be a great way for this group of boys to finish their Little League experience. The boys have won so many games over the past four summers. We expect a high level of competition in Cooperstown, but when this group has been challenged on the baseball field they have always responded with some outstanding effort and pulled off some incredible wins. We expect to see a few more."
Each player will be inducted into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame
at the end of the tournament, where their team picture will lie among the hundreds of other teams’ pictures that have been playing in this tournament since its first year in 1996, including those of current Major League Baseball stars Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and David Price.
Missing from photo Tom McArdle