At the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY in mid-August, the London Tecumsehs U12 team impressively earned the Monster Bracket Tournament title
(Left to right) Alex Metron, Connor Stefan Middle row: Bryson McElroy, John Gagne, Owen Babenko, Kayden Dukic Back row: Nolan Bettridge, Carter Froggett, Cooper Clark, Andrew MacNally, Nathan Benson, Aidan Doyle
The 2006 London Tecumsehs attended a week-long tournament (August 4-10) at the Cooperstown All Star Village in New York State this summer, one that is widely renowned as one of the premiere events for U12 teams in North America. A record 55 teams (including six from Canada) competed at the tournament, and the talent level was impressive, with teams ranging from local Associations all the way up to State All-Star teams.
The Tecumsehs checked in to the Village, surrounded by picturesque mountains and immaculate grounds, and the pin trading began immediately. During the Opening Ceremonies, our Tecumsehs family members won the Team Cheering Competition! Following that was a skills competition in which the Tecumsehs finished 2nd in the Fastest Double Play event.
In round robin play (two games per day for the first three days), the Tecumsehs won their first game, 14-1, with an all-around team effort. The night game, held on the Yankee Stadium turf field, pitted the London team against the No. 8-ranked team in America, proved to be an eye opener. This All-Star team was impressive, and they educated the Tecumsehs squad on what American Little League baseball is about – curveballs, power bats, and power arms.
After some rain delays, batting practice sessions, and team meals, the Tecumsehs finished with a 3-3 record in round robin play. They were ranked 30th out of 55 teams in the playoffs, and in their first playoff contest they earned a 6-3 win to advance to play the 17th seed out of California. Despite jumping out to a 3-0 lead, however, the Tecumsehs eventually fell short and were eliminated from the Main Championship Tournament.
But there was more ball to be played. The ’06 Tecumsehs were surprisingly invited to participate in the Monster Bracket Tournament the following day – a second-chance tournament for teams wanting to play more competitive baseball before heading home. The Tecumsehs jumped at the opportunity and won their first two games. After receiving their Cooperstown Youth Hall of Fame rings at the Closing Ceremonies, they rushed over to the Chicago turf field for the semi-finals.
Playing against another very solid California team, the Tecumsehs this time knew what to expect, and they played their best baseball of the tournament in a 9-3 win. This put the Tecumsehs in the Monster Bracket Finals against the very first team they played at the tournament, and they were looking for redemption. Behind some lights-out pitching and hits that came from the entire lineup, the Tecumsehs captured the title with a convincing 10-0 win.
The team finished the week with an 8-4 record overall, ranking them 13th out of the 55 teams. They hit 15 home runs while scoring 116 and allowing 88. This Canadian team proved that they can compete with the best teams from North America, and they showed sportsmanship, class and respect at all times. It was a once in a lifetime experience for the Tecumsehs, and the opportunity truly allowed the youngsters to grow as ballplayers, friends, sons and young men.
Submitted by the London Tecumsehs