For baseball fans and players everywhere, Cooperstown, NY holds a special meaning as the birthplace of America’s sport.
“They are so excited,” said Nu Ehgotz, a parent and organizer of the Hartland Area Youth Athletic Association baseball league.
Every year, it is tradition to send the 12 and younger team in Hartland to the tournament and this year, Eghotz’s 12-year-old son will be amoung the boys who will get his chance to play against teams from all over the country.
“We’ve been planning this since 9U,” she said, “So this is a really big undertaking.”
The cost of sending each player is $800, so to help fund the adventure, the Eagles 12U team will be hosting a Wooden Bat baseball tournament this weekend starting Friday night.
Hosting the tournament as a fundraiser is also a long-standing tradition, according to Ehgotz, but says this year, the team decided to put on a unique twist by making it a wooden bat tournament.
“We played in one last year and the boys had a blast,” said Mark Ehgotz, coach of the 12U team. “It’s different. The difference is the size of the barrel and the weight. Wood bats are a lot heavier.”
Ehgotz says that when playing with wood bats, the ball doesn’t go as far, so the picthers and the infielders have the advantage in these types of games, but added that they did have one player, Shayne Callan, who was able to hit a homerun at a wooden bat tournament.
With 21 teams, including one from Ohio, coming to town to participate, the team is looking to raise money from the $400 team entry fees and also through sponsors, proceeds from the concession stands and souvenirs, including wooden bats. There is no charge for fans to come watch the games, however.
All games will be played at Spranger Fields June 1-3 and Mark Ehgotz encourages fans of baseball to come out and support all eight Hartland teams who will be playing in the tournament.
“There’s a lot of nostalgia to it, a lot of tradition,” he said.
Hartland Eagles 12U Roster:
- Alex Braid
- Shayne Callan
- Landon Chouinard
- Ayden Ehgotz
- Adam Isler
- Ian Kenrick
- Brady Lockwood
- Collin Pajot
- Jack Wilson
- Conner Wisniewski
- Daniel Zaccagni
- Mitch Ziebold