A Remarkable Journey to Cooperstown for the Hudson Hit Dawgs

August 18, 2017

 

by Sue Krzeminski with help from Coach Doran and Mari Keegan

Thirteen lucky boys from Hudson spent a week living a dream.  Their magical trip to the Cooperstown Dreams Park complex in New York gave them an opportunity to play against teams from across the country.  It was a chance for players and parents alike to experience America’s pastime and make memories that will last forever.  The players felt like big leaguers taking to the turf on some of the 22 lighted baseball stadiums spread over 165 acres.

The scope of the Cooperstown tournament is best described by several passages in the Souvenir Guide.  It is a modern complex that pays homage to the past.  “At no other time in the history of youth baseball has there ever been an invitational tournament quite like those hosted by Cooperstown where baseball present meets the traditional values of baseball past … where independent travel/select and sanctioned teams are unrestricted to play baseball as it was meant to be played … (feeling) the presence of Ruth and Gehrig … Cobb and Robinson … Shoeless Joe and Moonlight Graham … and all the other great legends.”

The Hudson Hit Dawgs players who made the memorable journey are Alexander Blais, Jacob Bradshaw, Ethan Doran, Owen Hartson, Kody Hobart, Geoffrey Keegan, Dylan McCarthy, Ethan Moccia, Benjamin Mullett, Michael J Nemeth, Austin Ouellette, Zachary Peters and Austin Spooner.  The team was coached by Shaun Doran, Chris Hartson and Jay Spooner.  Players tried out for the travel team at the beginning of the spring season.  The boys also played their last year in the Hudson Youth Baseball system.

“The overall experience was incredible, and I am so happy I was able to have it with this group of boys,” said Coach Shaun Doran.  “I now have memories that will last a lifetime.”

All week long, the boys spent jam-packed days eating breakfast together alongside other teams, meeting other players and trading pins with them, and even participating in a bunting game in the barracks.  While the Hudson players happily immersed themselves in the hustle and bustle of various activities, they followed a strict playing schedule each day that began at 6:45 with batting practice and morning games starting at 8:30 sharp.

On the field, the Hudson Hit Dawgs finished 2-4 in pool play, winning their first playoff game and going 3-5 overall.  They faced the best team in their pool, the Tri State Arsenal, and another team that made it for the final four (Las Vegas).  Even though the Hudson bats were kind of quiet for most of the tournament, they did achieve some great highlights.  Ethan Doran had two homeruns, while Jacob Bradshaw, Kody Hobart and Alex Blais each had one homerun.  Ethan Doran and Kody Hobard led the team with eight hits each.  Key hits came from Geoff Keegan, Austin Ouellette, Jacob Bradshaw and a critical swinging bunt from Dylan McCarthy.  “Our pitching was all great,” said Coach Doran.  “We threw a lot of strikes versus good hitting teams.”

Obviously, the Hit Dawgs’ Cooperstown experience goes well beyond their win-loss record or number of hits.  It was a journey back to a simpler time defined by “the traditional values of faith, family and country,” according to the Cooperstown Souvenir Guide.

“What an honor it was to watch our boys play in Cooperstown,” said Marta Doran, Ethan’s mom.  “The excitement in their eyes was priceless, and the memories created are unforgettable.”