Baseball kids compete in once-in-a-lifetime experience—and succeed.
The Flagler Bandits and Ormond Spikes 12U teams just returned from a week-long tournament in Cooperstown, New York.
Though the experience alone would’ve made for unforgettable moments, both teams created historic memories on the field.
The Spikes took 14 players, three coaches and 46 friends and family members up north. They played teams from around the country and finished 17th out of 104 teams, going 5-3.
The team hit 16 total homeruns, two grand slams—by Robert Doeing and Canyon Brown. Evan Koehler pitched a perfect game, allowing no walks or runs. Canyon Brown followed that performance by pitching a no-hitter. Bryce Barkalow struck out 22 batters in 12 innings.
In order to reach Cooperstown, the Bandits and their parents spent the last two years hosting many fundraisers, including concessions at ballparks, selling popcorn at Town Center movie nights, water stations at 5k races, raffles, standing in front of Walmart and Publix and others.
Then, they went on to New York and knocked 19 balls out the park, also including two grand slams—from Austin Robinson and Carson Latham. Jaymes Pringle hit five homers, Robinson hit four, Latham had three and others had either one or two.
The questions athletes often face is “How will you respond in the spotlight?” These kids took the biggest stage they’ve ever stepped upon, and they performed at their highest level. Koehler’s perfect game is only the second in Cooperstown’s 20-year history of tournaments, and, when Brown followed Koehler with a no-hitter, they became one of only a few duo of pitchers to ever pitch back-to-back no hitters.
For everyone who donated or bought any merchandise to help these ball teams make it to Cooperstown, the money was well spent. Some kids’ names will now be forever sketched in the record books, and others made good on the opportunity represent their cities well.
Now, concerning my sports childhood, I can remember traveling on two hours to Tallahassee to play at a basketball camp. I never got to play against other states or win famous Cooperstown rings.
How cool is their childhood?