2020 12U-Blue Travel Team
Spring 2019, Deep Run’s 11U team is having an amazing season. They win their own “Field of Dreams” tournament and come in second in their division in Suburban Travel. When the season ends, they are starting to dream about their 12U year. The team makes plans for various tournaments and the culmination of their Little League careers with their trip to Cooperstown. You can see the stars in their eyes.
The 2020 season revs up for this 12U team by beginning with winter workouts. In March, there is a plan to kick off the season in Florida with a tournament. Everyone is looking forward to the time away and starting a great season. Then it hit. A pandemic, a shut down of the United States, schools and baseball. No trip to Florida, followed by the biggest disappointment, the cancelation of Cooperstown.
Coach Nelson and Coach Annan were not about to give up on the season for these boys. It was their final year! He made plans to go to Myrtle Beach for a different tournament the same week we were supposed to go to Cooperstown. We had hope. An attempt to salvage the season.
The coaches scheduled practices and games when it was “safe” for us to do so. They were able to put together a small season for the boys. We played the 11U team, then the Storm and North Penn. Our pitchers, Eddy Schlotter, Matthew Caparros, Jaggar Verbit, Anthony Trophe and Grayson MeKeogh all came out to a roaring start. We really stared to hit the ball during our game at Plumstead with a homerun by Ian Gallagher!
We then went to a short tournament at Cal Ripkin in Aberdeen, MD. We won our game against the South Jersey Blue Jays with a score of 8 – 7. Grayson McKeogh earned a triple while Ian Gallagher scored his second homerun of the season. Eddy Schlotter and Matthew Caparros worked together for the win. We didn’t fare so well against the next two teams, but we played our hearts out and got to play on the big Cal Ripkin Sr. field.
After returning home, we had to cancel our Myrtle Beach plans, but the coaches got us into a week-long tournament back in Aberdeen instead. They didn’t want to disappoint the boys anymore than they had to. This tournament was tough and the boys saw some amazing teams. None of us will ever forget “Big Al” who hit a homer at least 400 feet on the day we arrived (not against us, but holy cow!). We will also never forget that Rizzo kid. Two homers in a row, but he was humbled by a strike out from Matthew Caparros. Even though the team didn’t win, they were finally coming together with some great defensive plays and their bats were really moving. They played amazing against a team and won 19 – 8 with everyone having at least one great hit that game.
We had one last shot of playing in Margate. Weather ruined the actual tournament and we only ended up playing 1 game and 1 ½ innings of another. The boys “won” both “games. In our final game of the season they won 9 – 1. The best defensive play happened with a pickle between first and second in which all the key players were where they were supposed to be and earned the out.
Even though the season was not what we expected it to be, the coaches did not give up and gave these boys some memories to hold onto. They had ups and downs, but mostly they had fun and built even stronger relationships with their teammates. Next year it’s onto the “big field”, but look out in the fall. Something new, our boys will still be together with some other players for a 13U team. They’re not finished yet!