Competing in Cooperstown

Local baseball team’s fundraising will take them to national tournament in New York

Special to The Source Newspaper

A youth baseball team largely comprised of athletes from the 12u (age 12 and under) Jamison’s Future Swings team is gearing up for competition in Cooperstown, New York — a town synonymous with baseball.

Every summer, more than 100 teams at the 12-year-old-and-younger level are selected to compete at a summer tournament at Cooperstown Dreams Park. Jamison’s Future Swings 12u Head Coach Brett Rohlk assembled a team and successfully applied to play in the summer tournament that has become a tradition among 12u elite baseball travel teams from across the nation.

“Playing in the Cooperstown Dreams Tournament is exciting for my team for a number of reasons: the tournament is held in Cooperstown — the ‘Disney World’ of baseball, your team has to be selected to play in the tournament and the tournament is only offered to one age group,” explained Rohlk. “The 12u team I assembled was lucky to be selected to play during the Fourth of July week, which will be special for these athletes and their families, but it is a big financial commitment.”

During the week-long tournament, the team will stay in barracks with other athletes from across the United States and the Baseball Hall of Fame. The entry fee for the tournament is approximately $2,000 for each player. The team raffled a meat bundle recently to help fund about a quarter of each athlete’s entry fee, but they are looking for more sponsorship opportunities.

“We are thankful to Future Swings for offering us a location to practice and their help in promoting the Cooperstown trip this summer, but we hope other organizations or businesses who want to inspire the fundamental principles of baseball in these kids — teamwork, dedication, sportsmanship — will help us represent the Jacksonville area at Cooperstown this summer,” said Rohlk.

Rohlk’s team consists of athletes from the Jacksonville region including his son, Jack, who stated, “I look forward to this opportunity to play baseball with my teammates.” The other Jacksonville native on the team, Jagger Jamison, agreed, “I love to play baseball anywhere, but traveling to New York to play my favorite sport is going to be amazing.”

Thatcher Trotter, a member of the team from Chatham said, “I’m just excited to have this opportunity and am looking forward to seeing great competition from other states.” His teammate Knox Dunham from Griggsville added, “I just love baseball!”

Rounding out the Cooperstown team are Michael Kassing and Ayden Wagner of Mt. Sterling; Ian Behl and JR Williams, Jr., of Springfield; Carson Daugherty and Brody Reed of Morrisonville; Hurley Bennett of Waverly; and Thrice Kirkpatrick of Winchester. Travis Bennett is assisting Rohlk.

To offer support to the Cooperstown team, contact Rohlk by phone at 217-371-5733.

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