Local youth baseball team heads to hall-of-fame experience
Cooperstown, N.Y., is baseball nirvana.
Located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, Cooperstown is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Janesville T-Dawgs hope to find a slice of heaven there next week.
The T-Dawgs are a 12-and-under tournament baseball team that has been invited to play in the Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament the week of Aug. 14-18. The local team will be representing Janesville and the state against some of the best 12U teams in the country.
Janesville will begin pool play Sunday, with single-elimination play scheduled to begin Wednesday. Among the teams scheduled to compete in the tournament are seven from California, four from Florida and two from Canada. The T-Dawgs are the only state team in the tournament.
Janesville's team has been playing together since 2009 and has compiled an impressive tournament record. The T-Dawgs have won nine tournaments in two years, finished second in five and third
once. Janesville's record this season is 22-7 against the top teams from southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
"We're going out there expecting to play well," Janesville coach Todd Christensen said. "I told our kids that we have a chance to be one of the better teams out there, but we still have to play good, sound fundamental baseball, too.
"I think we will fare well, but at the same time, I want the kids to have fun and enjoy the experience."
The T-Dawgs' top pitchers are Evan Spry and Jack Blomgren, with Nick Lynch and Ty Perkins also expected to pitch at Cooperstown.
Janesville's infielders are Drew Hermanson, Logan Christensen, Caleb White, Jack MacDougall and Isaac Phillips, with Nolan Frederick and Perkins sharing the catching duties.
The outfield consists of Connor Wright, Nick Kaufman, Nick Lynch and Noah Phillips.
To play in the Dreams Park Tournament, Janesville had to fill out an application and wait for acceptance. Cooperstown hosts tournaments on a weekly basis thanks to 22 playing fields, including two championship fields complete with grandstands.
The T-Dawgs held a number of fundraisers to pay for the trip, including two meat raffles and a spaghetti dinner at the Janesville Elks Club. A number of private donations also helped fund the trip. Coach Christensen said the majority of the trip is covered.
"The support we've gotten from Janesville and the community has made this trip and this tournament possible," coach Christensen said.
"With all the success Janesville baseball teams have had this summer, it's fun to be a part of it and play in such a great tournament in Cooperstown. We can't wait to get on the road Thursday and get out there."
Christensen, Scott White, Steve Perkins and Brian Frederick coach the T-Dawgs.
The Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament website is www.cooperstowndreamspark.com. Janesville is guaranteed to have at least one game shown live on the website.