Wake up came early again in the barracks. 6:30AM and it was time to get the day started.
Per usual, the boys woke up, reflected on what they needed to do to be successful, made their beds and headed to the showers. The boys again opted for a power bar instead of breakfast and then headed out to the cages to get the Championship Day started.
Here the boys were in the final 16 - set for an 8:30AM date with the undefeated 6th seed Lake Elmo from Minnesota. Since the boys were the lower seed, we would be visitors.
As per the normal, Captain Jack Spero got the game started with a bang sending the 1st pitch of the game well over the center field fence for a 1-0 lead.
Brady Rea was on the hill for the Clutch. Lake Elmo was going to be a tough match up and put bat to ball in the 1st inning scoring 2 runs. At the end of 1, the Clutch trailed 2-1.
The second inning was a scoreless frame - but the Clutch got going in the 3rd.Nicky Rodriguez and Jack Spero started the inning with singles and then Jordan Walczykowski hit a double to drive in Nick. Ben Ransi singled to drive in Jack and then Jordan scored on a wild pitch - Clutch leads 4-2.
Brady held Lake Elmo in the 3rd and the 4th. The Clutch scored 1 in the 5th on a beautiful bunt by Ty Moran.
In the bottom of the 5th, Lake Elmo erupted for 6 runs - claiming the lead 8-5.
And there it was = the Clutch’s tournament life coming down to the top of the 6th - needing to score 3 runs. Jack lead off the inning with a hit by pitch and two outs later and the Clutch was down to their last out. A routine pop up to the pitcher was dropped and once again the Clutch had life.
Up stepped Brady Rea with a chance to tie the game - Brady worked the count to 2-1 before he hit a tank over the center field fence to tie the game 8-8.
Next up was Taylor Sutton. After working the count to 2-1, Taylor hit a no doubter to give the Clutch the lead 9-8.
Unfortunately, this was not to be the Clutch’s day. Lake Elmo continued to put bat to ball and scored two runs in their half of the 6th to win the game 10-9.
A tough end to a great tournament run. The boys had put in a ton work - it paid off with a 7-1 Cooperstown run.
Through this process, the boys learned the value of doing your best over a period time time to become your best.
They learned the value of a team - how fun it could be to work with each other to accomplish a goal and through that work they would become brothers - part of a special fraternity of ball players.
The boys learned that to be successful - you had to overcome adversity - many times during the tournament and the season - they found themselves down and worked together to be victorious.
They also learned that if you continually learn - you can never lose.
While the loss stung - the value of the team was quickly remembered with some bonding at the Cooperstown Fun Park and ice cream at Coopers Barn.
The boys reported back to the Village at 4:00PM for closing ceremonies where each player was given a ring and inducted into the Youth Baseball Hall of Fame. The boys were treated to a fireworks show and then watched the Championship game.
This was truly an amazing week with a special group of young men.
Established in 2005, Hard 90 Baseball has been traveling to Cooperstown each year. This is an amazing trip where players are able to truly enjoy "youth" baseball and through this process mature to get ready for high school. Hard 90 is currently forming high level teams for Cooperstown 2020 and Cooperstown 2021. Register your interest for our youth travel teams. Sign up today as spots are limited.