Photo above: Riptide players.
By Theresa Baker Wallace
While many 12 year olds were relaxing and enjoying their last days of summer at the beach or the pool, a special group of boys were living their dreams. They were playing baseball at the Cooperstown Dreams Park and being inducted into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame.
According to the Cooperstown Dreams Park website, “Each year, the participants of the Cooperstown Dreams Park National Invitational Tournament, in honor of their accomplishments, regardless of outcome, are inducted into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame. Much like the National Baseball Hall of Fame for major league baseball players, each participant, upon induction, receives the coveted American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame ring and officially becomes one of the Cooperstown Dreams Park Little Majors. The studio photo of each player with his teammates is affixed to the Commemorative Induction Plaque for future enshrinement on the walls of the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame.”
Cooperstown Dreams Park invited 104 teams to play in their prestigious tournament this year and Beaufort Riptide’s 12 + under baseball team was one of the teams selected and the only team representing South Carolina. Having spent the majority of their summer practicing, competing in numerous other tournaments plus fundraising so the whole team could go to Cooperstown, the Riptide was more than ready for the competition in New York.
The team started their week off with the opening ceremonies followed by the skills competition. Riptide finished 2nd in the “Around the Horn Plus” competition and Christian Londono finished 2nd in the” Road Runner” competition. After the skills competitions, the next step was to enter the pool play to determine the seeds for bracket play – the BIG tournament.
At the end of pool play, Riptide had 5 wins and 1 loss and was seeded 16th, losing to Citius USA who later became the tournament champions. Moving on to the single elimination tournament bracket play, Riptide battled their way to being among the final eight teams remaining. Riptide was eliminated by the Virginia Nationals only one game away from the finals leaving them with a record of 3 wins and 1 loss in bracket play and the honor of 5th place overall.
The Riptide had 132 hits out of 262 at bats giving them a batting average of .504. Thirty four of those hits were home runs. Along with earning their 5th place finish at Cooperstown, Riptide won the USSSA South Carolina State Championship Title in Lexington, SC in June and then went on to win their 2nd in a row USSSA Global World Series Championship Title in Myrtle Beach in July. Riptide finishes their season with a record of 60 wins and 7 losses and begins 13+ under competition in September.
These exceptional players are: Matthew Bornscheuer, Joshua Denton, Wes Graves, Oliver Holmes, Kyle Hooker, Samuel Horton, Hayden Jennings, Josh Kross, Christian Londono, Colin Peterson, Rush Riley, Rhogue Wallace, and Mason Westerfield.
The Riptide Coaches are Brett Westerfield, Richard Jennings, Bobby Graves, Ryan Albridge and Al Wallace.
The Riptide players and coaches would like to thank the Beaufort community and the businesses that helped support them throughout the year. Your support helped make their dreams come true.