Story by Tamas Mondovics
Cooperstown Dreams Park was started in 1996 by Lou Presutti. About 17,000 players from across the country and Canada with up to 104 teams a week over 13 weeks travel to Dreams Park each summer with their families. Presutti passed away last year but his wife, Linda, still continues the traditions and love for baseball as their memories last forever.
The FishHawk Baseball Club (FBC) Wolves 12U Travel Team under Head Coach Chuck Harman headed to Cooperstown, New York this June and played in the week three tournament. The Wolves played a total of 13 games in five days. After a 4-2 pool play, the team seeded 33rd out of 104 teams. Head Coach, Chuck Harman knew they had a long road ahead of them, but gave them a pep talk saying, “We have worked all year to be here. We came with a purpose so let’s stay focused with no distractions.”
Determined to play hard, one by one, they won games. A 17-1 win against Texas Stix and a 6-1 win against Bartow Canes (GA). The next game was against the number one seed. The Wolves defeated the Utah Yard Dawgs in a back-and-forth game for a 6-4 win. What a great way to end day four. The players said a quick goodbye to the parents and head back to the barracks where they stayed the entire week with the coaches.
Defeating the number one seed provided them with the motivation needed for the last day of games. Field #7 lived up to expectation as it proved to be their lucky field. Again, one by one, the Wolves defeated three more teams that put them into the championship.
Prior to the championship game, one of the meaningful moments for the players, and a long standing tradition, is for the teams to share time together over dinner prior to the championship game.
The televised championship game was a hard fought battle between the 33rd seed FishHawk Wolves and the 2nd seed Total Baseball Bears (CA). Down by six runs in the first inning, the Wolves pulled together and fought back to tie the game in the sixth inning. Ending the game in an extra inning, the Wolves ultimately lost 10-9.
Although they came home with second place, the Wolves accomplished many firsts. The Wolves were the highest seeded team to make it to the championship game through team determination and coaches inspiration. This championship game set a Cooperstown record for the most online viewers with over 20,000 people watching online.
In addition, at the tournament, a Wolves player, Makye Hayes, won the Road Runner Competition with the fasted time around the bases with an impressive 12.08 second run.
While in Cooperstown, the team managed to pull in an impressive 76 home runs with 10 wins and 3 losses.
The FBC Wolves is under the direction of Jimmy Osting, owner of Osting Baseball Academy. The program has proven to be both challenging, yet rewarding. Head Coach, Chuck Harman has coached five of the players since they were in Wolves 8U Travel. “It’s not about winning every tournament, it’s about learning all aspects of baseball from proper mechanics to sportsmanship.” Greg Stallings, President of FBC Wolves saw potential and assisted in coaching the boys this year.
Ending the season 40-15-1 with an overall batting average of 401, 146 home runs, playing 56 games, this group of 12U boys has much to be proud of. They would like to thank the community for its support throughout the year.