Silicon Valley Glory travel baseball coach Troy Swartzle
described his group of 11-and-12-year-old’s trip to Cooperstown,
New York for the Cooperstown Dreams Park 12U Invitation Tournament
during the last week of July the best way possible.
Silicon Valley Glory travel baseball coach Troy Swartzle described his group of 11-and-12-year-old’s trip to Cooperstown, New York for the Cooperstown Dreams Park 12U Invitation Tournament during the last week of July the best way possible.
“The tournament was amazing,” Swartzle boasted via email.
The brief yet effective summary makes perfect sense.
In addition to participating in the weeklong extravaganza that featured 104 teams from 27 states and Canada, the local ball players were amerced in Hall of Fame week festivities, rubbing elbows with some of the game’s legendary.
“We were able to hang out with former major leaguers Rickey Henderson, Bert Campaneris, Rollie Fingers, Dale Murphy, Frank Robinson, just to name a few,” Swartzle said.
The 12 players and six coaches also got to meet 2011 Hall of Fame inductees Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar, a treat in and of itself, and made the most out of their off-the-field moments reveling in the bright spots of the historical town.
“We spent most of our minimal free time downtown soaking up the inspiring atmosphere and visiting the many small shops and eateries that made up the no-more-than four blocks of downtown,” Swartzle shared.
Baseball took center stage for much of the week. The boys swung right into action during the opening ceremonies and participated in a series of individual skills competitions.
Anthonee Bartholic entered into the “King of Swat,” Grant Schaper tested his talents in “The Golden Arm” and Preston Longaker hit the base paths in “The Roadrunner.”
“There was also a team competition which was an around-the-horn drill, utilizing all nine players on the field in an effort to complete the circuit in the lowest elapsed time,” Swartzle said.
Soon enough it was time to get to work, a schedule that included three days of pool play – two games per day – to decide advancement into the single-elimination portion of the tournament.
Game 1, aided by Bartholic’s pitching prowess and a 3 for 3 day at the plate, against the North Bend Knuckleballers went the Glory’s way.
Daniel Colmer got the scoring started by executing a well-placed suicide squeeze bunt, plating Bartholic in the bottom of the second.
Defensive plays from Longaker and Alex Benavides and Tommy Castro preserved a no-hitter into the sixth.
However, the tides turned a bit moving forward.
“From that game, the boys really worked hard but faced teams that were a bit older and a bit bigger in stature and finished pool play ranked 84 out of the 104 team field,” Swartzle said. “Our boys managed to get to the second round Wednesday before running out of gas.”
Gathering plenty of memories along the way, one game in particular stood out for Swartzle and the players.
Facing a team from Colorado – the Dakota Fear – that had not been challenged much in its first three games, plus the added hindrance of a rain delay that pushed the start of the contest to 10:30 p.m., the Glory kept close tabs on the Fear through four innings, training 3-1.
Though the Fear eventually opened the advantage in their eventual win, ” a lot of good baseball players were born that night,” Swartzle said.
The starting battery of Josh Zanger and Brendon Ellis, who took a fastball to the head in the first inning, managed the game well, Swartzle said, and Cameron Childers had a productive night at the plate.
The hitting became a constant during the four days and the Glory put together a team batting average of .338.
Bartholic posted a .776 average with three home runs and seven RBI, Benavides registered a .604 average with three dingers and seven RBI of his own, Nolan Filippi hit .563, Zanger .427 with two round trippers, Ellis .471 (also threw out four runners trying to steal) and Jose Amaro rarely ceased putting the ball in play.
“The level of competition was great and the level at which the tournament was operated was outstanding,” Swartzle said.
“Coaches, as well as players, were totally stoked to be in such a great baseball environment and both learned a lot about the game and life both off and on the field.”