Cooperstown tourney great experince for Pee Wee Cardinals


By Joel Charron

It’s an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Last month, Jeff Levy along with the rest of the coaching staff took the Amherstburg Pee Wee Cardinals to Cooperstown, New York to take part in the Cooperstown Dream Park Tournament.

The Cardinals were one of 104 teams that took part in the tournament.

Levy said Cooperstown Dream Park is a “giant complex” with 22 baseball diamonds and is fenced in with eight-foot walls and measures 200 feet from home plate. Each field has a grass infield with dirt base paths with professional umpires officiating the game.

“They also had water fountains in the dugout,” said Levy. “It really makes you feel like you’re in a major league ballpark.”

On opening night of the tournament, Levy said all 104 team were introduced on the main diamond

The Amherstburg Pee Wee Cardinals experience at the Cooperstown Dream Park Tournament is something the players will remember for the rest of their lives.

with 1,500 people in attendance.

The Cardinals were guaranteed seven games before entering the knockout round.

Entering the tournament, Levy said the team had no expectation. The goal was to take the field and play as best as they could.

The Cardinals lost all of the games, however Levy said the boys were competitive in all their games and scored runs in every game.

“We played really good competitive ball,” said Levy.

The Cardinals came close to winning their first game in the elimination rounds but gave up a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning to a team from Las Vegas, who eventually won the tournament.

Levy said the quality of baseball was outstanding, as some of the 12-year-old pitchers were throwing very fast.  He noted that some of the teams they played were baseball academies, meaning players would have practice in the morning, go to school then have practice against a night.

“There were some definite future major leaguers playing in the tournament,” said Levy.

According to Levy, every player had their “moment” during the tournament.

“One kid made a diving catch. Our catcher made the catch of his life,” said Levy. “Lukas Renuad ended up smacking the ball over the fence for a home run. It was cool to see those kids enjoy something like this.”

The Pee Wee Cardinals also had the opportunity to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Before the championship game all the teams were brought in to the main diamond once again and given Cooperstown Dream Park rings as a souvenir.

“For a baseball kid, this tournament is a must do,” said Levy. “When a kid is my age, they will remember playing in Cooperstown.”

Levy said the Amherstburg Cardinals were given a “grandfather certificate” which guarantees Amherstburg a spot in the tournament every year.

“Hopefully we can continued this tradition for a long time,” said Levy.

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