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Minneapolis 12AAA Millers prepare for Cooperstown

  

By Jon Carlson

 

The Minneapolis Youth Baseball Association (MYBA) 12AAA baseball team has been invited to participate in the 2008 “Cooperstown Dreams Park” Baseball Tournament from July 25 to August 1, 2008.

This will be the fourth consecutive appearance by a MYBA 12AAA team at this prestigious tournament. The players representing Minneapolis in Cooperstown will be Thomas Blease, Richard Borquez, Paul Bromelkamp, Denny Carlson, Graham Fritz, Cam Hufendick, Jack Jablonski, Liam Kelsey, Tobias Knight, Nick McNosky, Peter Nester and Max Uetz.

The Minneapolis Millers, led by head coach Devin McNosky and pitching coach Steve Hufendick, are excited to compete with teams from other parts of the country.

“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” said McNosky. “The boys will never forget playing baseball on the fields in Cooperstown.”

The tournament coincides with the induction of Rich “Goose” Gossage into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 27.

Pitching coach Hufendick is preparing the team to deal with the aggressive baserunning he anticipates seeing in a national tournament.

“The unrestricted stealing rules are new to our players this year,” he said. “But we’re getting better with our moves and throws to the bases. We should be ready to erase some baserunners at Cooperstown.”

Dustin Nester and Tyler Downs are assistant coaches for the team. Both are looking forward to the New York trip.

“I want to see our team compete at a national level,” said Downs. “We’ll be in top form for the tournament.”

Minneapolis umpire John Schelly will accompany the team and call some of the Cooperstown tournament games.

Getting ready for a national tournament means playing a couple league games each week with tournaments on the weekends. Team managers Teri Nester and Lisa Broek are leading the fundraising and organizing efforts that keep 12 players and their families fielding the team.

One weekend last month, the Millers played five games in the Father Hennepin Tournament in Champlin (fourth place). This weekend, after three league games, the team travels to Brainerd for three games in the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services (MYAS) Brainerd Lakes Classic.

The Cooperstown Dreams Park Baseball Tournament features 96 teams from across the United States, including other Minnesota teams, with more than 1,000 ball players participating. The Millers will play at least seven games and could play additional games if they win. The baseball camp includes daily training sessions on the fundamentals of baseball and culminates in the participants’ induction into the Youth Baseball Hall of Fame.

The players live in barracks at the camp and eat meals in a mess hall. The tournament encourages good sportsmanship, competition and goodwill. Traditions include players trading and collecting team logo hat pins. Some players try to collect a full set of pins from all 96 teams!

The players and their families have been busy off the field, too, raising funds for the trip. Last week, the boys worked the carryout lines at Kowalski’s on Lyndale and 54th. The team raised more support at their June 1 hit-a-thon, and plan a send off dinner/fundraiser in July.

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting the Millers’ trip to Cooperstown can make a tax-deductible contribution to MYBA, c/o 12AAA. Visit the MYBA website, www.myba.us. Questions, call Jon Carlson at 612-377-8820 or e-mail at jon@joncarlson.com.