For baseball players, both young and young at heart, there is no place like Cooperstown, New York. It’s the mecca of the sport; home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, where the likes of Ty Cobb, Yogi Berra, Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench are enshrined.
One week in June, the FishHawk Ranch Cherry’s Bombers, a baseball team made up of 12-year-olds who play in the FishHawk Ranch Youth Baseball League, made the pilgrimage to compete in the Cooperstown Dreams Park tournament. It offers young players the opportunity to “Live the Dream” and compete at a high caliber of play for the sheer joy of the game.
The group of 12 players found out in September that they had been accepted to compete at Dreams Park. Then the fundraising and planning began. The players, who are all good friends, decided on their team name, the FishHawk Cherry’s Bombers, in part because they’re all from the FishHawk area, and Cherry’s, a popular FishHawk Ranch eatery, is the favorite spot for the boys to get together. The team also designed their logo for the competition and pins, which are traded with fellow tournament players.
“Dreams Park is like Disney World for baseball players,” said Lynda McMorrow, who lives in FishHawk Ranch and works as the marketing manager for Newland Communities. Her son is a member of the FishHawk Cherry’s Bombers. The tournament turned into a vacation for McMorrow and many of the other players’ families. Some rented houses, or stayed at hotels, while the players lived in barrack-style dorms.
“The week was all about friends and family,” McMorrow said.
One hundred and four teams compete each week during the 12-week baseball tournament. Every day, 22 baseball games run simultaneously. The FishHawk Cherry’s Bombers went into the tournament bracket on Wednesday as the 68th seed. They played nine games, won four, lost five, and competed against teams from Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia, Arizona, Wyoming and North Carolina.
“It was about all of the kids playing and not so much about winning the tournament,” added McMorrow, who said several players hit home runs for the first time. “All in all, it was an experience the boys will never forget, making memories to last a lifetime.”