Title brought home from baseball’s hometown
By Randy Angel
Fans of America’s national pastime hold Cooperstown, New York in reverence yet the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame and birthplace of the sport will forever have a different – but just as special — place in the hearts of a group of young local players and their families.
The El Segundo-based Beach City Baseball Academy’s U12 Prospects Red team captured the Cooperstown trophy after dominating a week of tournament competition at the famed Cooperstown Dreams Park.
The Prospects concluded the final week of the 2016 season by winning 11 games in six days against a field that included 104 teams from around the country.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these kids, who come from all over Los Angeles and the South Bay,” coach Ryan Lopez said. “Most of them have played together since they were nine or 10 years old. We’ve won a lot of tournaments and lost our share of heartbreakers together. This was a special way to end the season.”
The Prospects were involved in a pitchers duel in the championship game against Del Mar Powerhouse (CA) before the bats from the South Bay team exploded after a 1-1 tie going into the fourth inning.
After scoring three runs in the fourth inning, the Prospects hit five home runs and scored 10 runs in the fifth inning to seal a 14-1 victory.
Deon Dizon hit two home runs with five RBI and winning pitcher Nick Valdez struck out nine batters in four innings of work.
“The Cooperstown Tournament is both a motivation and reward for the kids’ hard work,” BCBA owner Richard Murad said. “It’s an inspiration to see the National Baseball Hall of Fame and to play against other kids from all over the U.S. Since word of our championship got out, I’ve been receiving calls from all over the state, thanking us for bringing the Cooperstown trophy back to California. It’s a great feeling.”