At all cost: Local team has chance to compete at Hall of Fame tournament

This summer, a traveling youth baseball team from Chester could have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in a tournament hosted at the Cooperstown Dreams Park in New York. Though the team lacks the financial resources to fund a bid for the tournament, its members remain more than hopeful about their chances.

The Chester Rage, a team composed of 10- and 11-year-old boys, plans to travel to Cooperstown, N.Y., in August 2011, where they will compete against other high-caliber teams. Cooperstown, the site of professional baseball’s Hall of Fame, hosts an annual tournament, inviting youth baseball teams from around the country to compete.

“It will take a lot to get there, but will be more than worth it,” said Jerry Tyler, head coach of the team. “It will be fun for everybody… But they’re going to have to earn it.”
Ninety-six teams will be present at the tournament, and the Chester Rage is guaranteed seven games before the dual-elimination goes into effect. All teams will be well-accommodated, as meals and boarding will be provided in the cost.

For each team, the cost to attend the tournament is $11, 500, roughly $800 a player, not including traveling expenses, and each coach is responsible for paying their way, also. The team has already paid a small percentage of the non-refundable, required amount and the rest is due March 1.

Not only do the players get to play high-quality baseball in Cooperstown, they will be inducted into the Youth Hall of Fame and will receive rings in a ceremony. Tyler views the trip as an enjoyable, unforgettable experience for the young players: “It will be fun because they’re kids, and after all, baseball is about having fun.”

The team needs the help of the community to make this dream come true, saying that any and all monetary contributions would be helpful. Although they are heavily involved in a variety of fundraising efforts at this time, money is still an issue and tax-deductible donations of any amount would be crucial in making this dream happen.

First assembled during the spring of this year, the team sprang from a common goal to develop the talent of young players in the area. Many of the team’s players have played together for a number of years and worked toward not only winning, but thoroughly learning the aspects of the game.

 The team has started to see success, even coming in runner-up in the “Beast of the East” tournament at Shepherd Stadium in Colonial Heights this year. Tyler said: “We played a lot of baseball this past year. The level which they are capable of playing is up there. They are good boys from good families and they’re out to play ball.”

Tyler can be reached at jmjtyler@aol.com or 305-6894 for all questions concerning the team.

“It’s an experience that will last a lifetime,” said Tyler. “The kids deserve it, and if they work hard, they deserve to show their talent as well.”

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