By Kassidy McDonald │[email protected]
The Alexandria Senators, a youth baseball team for players 12 and under, competed in the world’s largest 12U tournament last week. The tournament was held in Cooperstown, New York – home to Cooperstown Dreams Park and the National Baseball Hall of Fame – with 88 12U teams from all over the country competing.
The Alexandria Senators’ team consisted of 11 players: Pierce Beattie, Finn Coco, Samuel Dyck, Coulter Feehery, Eamonn Herbold, William Jones, Dylan Klotz, Jake Pisano, Turner Reid, Turner Sawyer and Coleman Todd, and was led by coaches Sherry Reilly and Andy Reid.
Each year the Senators team is handpicked by Reilly. This is the fourth year, with a year lost in between because of COVID-19, that Reilly has taken her young players to compete in the tournament in Cooperstown. All of the players on Reilly’s team are always Alexandria City players and have played in Little League at one point in their baseball careers, she said.
Most players on the Senators currently are from the Alexandria Reds, a youth baseball organization founded in 2016 that aims to provide “affordable, competitive and fun” travel baseball to the Alexandria community and teach players the fundamentals of the game. The organization offers teams from ages 9 to 18.
The Reds organization also has a JAG program for youth ages 15 to 18 that offers high school players growth, development and exposure opportunities. The goal, according to the Reds website, is to carve out a path for high school, college or professional baseball careers.
“Good character, commitment and work ethic are emphasized, required and measured in the form of team- work, focus during practice and games and sportsmanship,” the Reds website reads.
Cooperstown Dreams Park is a baseball complex that hosts youth tournaments for 12U players beginning in June and extending through August, according to its website. The complex has been open since 1996. However, Cooperstown Dreams Park does more than just host baseball tournaments at the fields; it also holds an all-inclusive baseball summer camp that is popular with many families who have young baseball players. According to the website, the camp is a family experience, where many parents enjoy cheering for their players during tournaments, bringing them to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and watching their young players fall in love with the game of baseball.
During the tournament, which began on Aug. 3, the Senators went 3-2 in pool play, earning them the 39th seed out of 88 teams in the tournament. They earned two byes in bracket play, which automatically placed them into the third round of the tournament. The team won its first playoff game 17-5 and racked up 21 hits in the game, Reilly said.
Cooperstown Dreams Park’s field fences are measured 200 feet from home plate and are specifically designed this way so that the kids who play 12U can hit home runs. Four of the Senators players were able to accomplish this feat: Coulter Feehery, Eamonn Herbold, William Jones and Jake Pisano all hit homers over the stadium fence and were able to take a picture together with their home run balls, Reilly said.
“It was an amazing experience to play and share the love of baseball with so many kids from all over the country,” Senators player Dylan Klotz said about playing in the tournament.
The Senators fell in the fourth round of elimination play after playing a total of seven games over the span of three days. They played against teams from Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland and other Virginia teams.
“Spending the past week playing at Cooperstown Drams Park with this amazing group of players and parents was a magical experience. The camaraderie of this team is unmatched,” Reilly said. “All of these boys are talented players but, more importantly, they are great teammates who looked out for one another and had a blast playing and living together all week. This was a special experience with a very special team of players.”