Nicknamed the dirty dozen, the Moorestown U12 baseball team has been on a journey over the course of the last four years. Since the travel team first got together when the players were 8 years old, the team put in hard work, sweat and tears that finally paid off with a trip to Cooperstown, N.Y., to play in the Dream Park Tournament.
To get to Cooperstown, the team had to first fundraise. The team has volunteered and raised money with many different fundraisers, but the last one to put them over the top included a car wash at Main and Church streets in Moorestown.
“The Cooperstown trip is like the last experience for the Moorestown travel team,” said coach Jim Trakis. “We started fundraising for this trip back when the team was 8 years old as part of regular fundraisers and just saving it for now. This year, we had a lot of fundraising events, but this time we wanted the kids to be more involved in the conception of events.
“For one of the events, the kids came up with a yard sale,” Trakis continued. “All of the parents brought items to the yard sale. The kids made signs and marketed the event. We also did a 50/50 raffler and the car wash. Part of the reason why we did the fundraisers that we did is because we wanted to provide a service and not just ask for donations.”
At the tournament, Moorestown was one of 104 teams. The seven-night trip that included sleeping in a barracks and playing baseball all week gave the team an experience like none other. The first day included an opening ceremony and skills day, followed by six games of pool rounds from Sunday to Tuesday. The last three days included the playoffs. Moorestown finished with a 3-3 record in pool play and reached the second round of the playoffs.
“It was unbelieveable,” said Trakis. “We were seeded 52 out of 104 teams and we won our first playoff game. We lost the second playoff game, but we held our own. I think this trip created a lot of memories.
“It feels very rewarding to watch the boys grow as players, teammates and indidviduals,” Trakis continued. “Next year the boys will play for middle school, but this is something that we are all very happy that we’ve seen through. Coaching this team was always a combination of competition and learning, it wasn’t just about baseball.”
The Moorestown U12 baseball team consisted of players Alex Berrodin, Michael Della Rosa, Luke Dengler, Travis Jerrell, Chase Kroberger, David McGeorge, Luca Petriello, Dylan Rothenberg, Ryan Scott, Carter Smith, Ethan Tolbert and James Trakis, as well as coaches Jim Trakis, Mike Berrodin, Corey Smith, Andrew Dengler and Chris Kroberger.
“Lastly, I just want to thank the community tremediously for supporting the team through fundraising events, hosting tournaments and the fan support. Each of the families took on a leadership role of some aspect and we always had 100 percent participation from the families.”