COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — The Carolina Chargers, a North Stokes 12-and-under baseball team, placed in the top 50 at a national tournament at Cooperstown Dreams Park.
July 2 through July 8, the 11-player team competed in a tournament that included 103 teams from all across the United States and two teams from Canada.
In total, the team played six games at the tournament against teams from such places as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and northern Georgia.
Jay Wood, the team’s general manager, said that a very proud moment for the team was winning their first game of the tournament, a win which he attributes to its top-50 placing.
“They played so many close games,” Wood said of the teams’ efforts, adding that some of the teams to whom they lost in later games are classified as “power teams,” meaning that they focus on hitting home runs, which they do not.
“There’s a core group of them that have been together since T-ball,” Wood said of the camaraderie of the team.
Wood explained that a lot of time and effort went into raising money in order for the boys to compete in the tournament, noting that the team held many fundraisers.
In addition to the 11 players, 21 parents accompanied the players to the tournament. Over the course of the week, the players stayed inside the park, while the parents lodged nearby.
Aside from the actual games, Wood said that the team did its fair share of sightseeing as well.
The team took a tour of the nearby Baseball Hall of Fame.
“The Hall of Fame was the highlight,” Wood said.
In addition to touring the Hall, the team was among a select group of 20 teams that were invited to go to Baseballism, a baseball memorabilia store. While at the store, each player received a special pen to commemorate their visit.
An added bonus for the team was getting to meet retired Major League Baseball players Andrew Jones, of the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees, and Danny Young, of the Chicago Cubs. Jones and Young were in attendance at the tournament because their own sons were playing, with Jones’ son playing on an Atlanta-based team and Young’s son playing on a Tennessee-based team.
“It’s really special getting to meet guys from all across the country and getting to see how they do things,” Wood said.
“I was ecstatic,” Wood said of the team’s placing in the tournament. “I saw boys step up and play better than they did all year long. We hung in there and really did well.”
According to Wood, Cooperstown Dream Park holds tournaments throughout the summer for a total of 13 weeks.