Tournament Week #4 June 25- June 30
July 2, 2011-The PAL Astros 12U team competed at Cooperstown Dreams Park June 25-30 in upstate New York. The Astros played eight games during their stay facing teams from Georgia, Delaware, Wisconsin, Alabama, North Carolina, Minnesota, Ohio and New Jersey. The Astros were able to win 2 games facing a very difficult draw in this year’s tournament including a 4-3 victory over the eventual # 36 ( out of 104) team Roswell GA Hornets and a 12-0 whitewashing of the Cuyahoga Heights OH Redskins..
It was a fantastic experience for the players and coaches as well as the family members who made the six hour journey north into the Catskills.
The Dreams Week Tournament started with the opening ceremonies and the players skills competition. The Astros players showed off their skills in three individual competitions and one team contest. Each of the 104 teams sends a representative to each of the competitions.
For the first time in PAL Astros history, a PAL Astros player made it into the finals of a skills competition when Dominic Belnomi posted a time of 13.05 in the road runner around the base contest to make the finals. He eventually finished 6th. ( over 1200 players are at the tournament so 6th is a huge accomplishment). Alex Hill finished tied for 11th place in the Golden Arm contest ( throwing from 125 feet in center field to a target set up at home plate). Jarrett Heckert was the PAL king of swat home run derby entrant. He launched a few shots but came up just short of recording a dinger. And in the team around the horn plus competition, the Astros finished 26th out of the 104 teams. Kyle Remaley, James Cardillo, Kyle Germann, Brody Vinson, Tom Flanagan, Will Spanoghe, Matthew Davis, Austin Cary, Tomas Bartlett made up the ATHP team. It was a tremendous effort by the entire team during the skills part of the tournament.
In the Astros first win, Brody Vinson was the hitting star knocking in two runs with a key one out base hit in the 4th inning with the scored tied 1-1 at the time. Austin Cary had hits in both victories including the key 4th inning of the Roswell game. Tom Flanagan just missed a home run on a missile shot to left field that scored the game ending run in the 12-0 mercy rule victory over the Cuyahoga Heights OH Redskins.
The Astros connected for 4 home runs during the week with Kyle Remaley hitting two and Jarrett Heckert and Kyle Germann each hitting one. Remaley also led the team with seven runs scored for the week. Alex Hill led the team with six walks and along with Dominic Belnomi each scored five runs and had on base percentages of over .500 for the week.
Dominic Belnomi was the pitching star earning both victories for the week. Belnomi struck out nine batters, and did not walk a single batter in 13 innings of work during the tournament. Tomas Bartlett also pitched well for the Astros making three appearances ( two starts and one relief effort) for the week. In addition to Belnomi and Bartlett, Kyle Remaley, Jarrett Heckert, Alex Hill, Tom Flanagan and Brody Vinson also logged multiple innings on the mound for the Astros during the week.
The defensive stars for the week were James Cardillo who made numerous routine plays and several outstanding plays at 2nd base. One play in particular was a smash that eluded the first baseman but Cardillo ranged over scooped the ball up and sprinted to first base beating the opposing runner by a half step to end the inning. Will Spanoghe came up with several big catches in left field including a running snag of a sinking liner in the 4th inning of the victory against the Cuyahoga Heights OH Redskins. . Matthew Davis anchored the right field spot until he collided with Cardillo while attempting to make an outstanding play on a sinking fly ball in shallow right field. Davis broke his arm on the play but stayed with the team for the remainder of the week showing true grit and the great Astros team spirit.
Brody Vinson played well in both left and center fields making several key catches including a very nice catch at the wall to end an inning. Tomas Bartlett played a solid 3rd base. Among the plays he made at third was a fantastic stop on a hard hit smash with two outs and the tying run on second in the bottom of the sixth inning of the Roswell game. Bartlett sacrificed his body keeping the ball in front of him and made a perfect throw over to first to secure the Roswell victory. Kyle Germann played outstanding at catcher, routinely blocking balls in the dirt and keeping the opposing runners on their toes with his quick and accurate throws.
It was a tremendous week. A lifetime of memories was created. Besides the on field competition, the players spent the entire week together as a team. The traded pins with the other 104 teams. They hung together in between games and even after being eliminated from competition on Wednesday all 15 participants ( 12 players and 3 coaches) stayed on site in the barracks Wednesday night when many other teams either went to stay off site with their families or left altogether.
The week ended with the closing ceremonies on Thursday night in which each player and coach was inducted in the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame. Each player was introduced and received their AYBHOF ring at second base of Little Major’s Stadium. What a great ending to a memorable week.
Below is a picture of the final scoreboard after PAL beat the Cuyahoga Heights OH. Redskins 12-0 in the opening round of Wednesdays tournament bracket. Also shown is a group shot of the players, coaches and family of the 2011 Annapolis PAL Astros 12U Cooperstown team!