The Londonderry 12 Year Old All Stars just completed the most successful Cooperstown Dreams Park playoff run ever. Londonderry has been sending teams to Cooperstown since 1998. The All Stars, playing under the name of the NH Diamond Dawgs, played 10 games in 4 days and finished with 5 wins.
Friday, July 28th, was move-in day for all 104 teams that competed during the week. The next day included the Opening Parade and Skills Competition. Alexander LaPlante reached the Finals in the Home Run hitting contest and finished 3rd overall, foreshadowing things to come for the powerful hitter.
Sunday, Londonderry split wins between the Tidewater Bombers (VA) and Cape Cod Bass River Rats (MA). In the night cap against the Cape Cod team, the Londonderry 12YO’s pounded out 17 hits on route to a lopsided 20-1 win. Jackson Sullivan led the hit attack, collecting 4 hits including 2 doubles and 5 runs batted in.
Monday, also brought a split against teams from New York and Pennsylvania. Both games were decided by one run. The early game was a victory against the South Shore Rebels (NY) on a walk-off win by a base hit by Dakota Johnson scoring Cole Perry. Kyle MacEachern pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief to keep the game close. The second game against the Lenape Valley Tomahawks (PA) was a tough loss 5-4, as a late rally fell short of victory. Londonderry did pound out 11 hits, but left many on base. Leading the way was leadoff hitter Ryan Chisholm with 3 hits. Also, reaching base safely 3 times was Josh Rutina.
Tuesday, was the only sloppy play of the tournament for the local squad. Both games were losses against teams from New Jersey (Cinnaminson Pirates) and Wisconsin (Milwaukee Angels). The first game against Cinnaminson was forgettable. Londonderry jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, lead by Shane MacEachern’s bases clearing rocket that hit high off the left field wall. However, late in the game, costly errors led to 10 unearned runs and the tough loss. The Milwaukee Angels team was over powering, as it beat the locals 14-5 in the last regular game played before the playoffs. Jacob Bolduc had 2 hard hits in the loss, including a double.
Wednesday, was the start of playoff bracket play and one for the record books for the Londonderry 12YO’s. Ranked 73rd heading into the playoffs, the Team started a remarkable run that started at 10am and ended at around 7pm. Londonderry won a LAFA Baseball record 3 games in a row, before the team tired in its fourth game of the day, against the Steve Aiello Community Stars from California.
In the First Game of the day against Wayne (PA), LaPlante had a game to remember. He had 4 hits including, 3 mammoth Home Runs (one Grand Slam), with 8 runs batted in. One of his HR’s measured over 320 feet. Johnson pitched a complete game, giving up only 5 hits and 1 batter walked to get the win. Defensive leather was flashed by Cam Champa in Centerfield.
Game 2 of the day was again, another offensive explosion, beating up on the Jax Beach (FL) team by pounding out 16 hits. Tom Houston and LaPlante went deep with Home Runs. Cam Champa also led the hitting attack with 2 hits, including a double. Andy Ross had a sharp hit that plated 2 in the first that set the tone early. Cole Perry pitched the first 3 solid innings to pick up the victory.
Game 3 against Stony Brook (NY) was a comeback victory. Early on, Laplante hit his 5th Home Run of the day and Ryan Chisholm stretched out in a full dive to catch a line drive. Game was tied 5-5 in the 5th inning when Jackson Leavitt stepped up to the plate and promptly hit the first pitch out of the park for a Grand Slam. Leavitt also got the win, with 4 innings of off-speed pitching, including striking out the Stony Brook batter with the bases loaded to end the game.
The fairy tale day came to an end against the powerful hitters from California. Besides, having one of the most sought after trading pins in Dreams Park (the “Yoda” pin), they had a great hitting attack. Still the local team pressed the Hollywood team by scoring in the last 5 innings.
In total, the Londonderry 12 Year Old All Star team played 33 games this Summer that culminated with the trip to Cooperstown’s Dreams Park…one that every player, coach, and family member (aka the Dawg Pound) will never forget.
Players included; Jacob Bolduc, Cam Champa, Ryan Chisholm, Tom Houston, Dakota Johnson, Alexander LaPlante, Jackson Leavitt, Shane MacEachern, Kyle MacEachern, Cole Perry, Andy Ross, Josh Rutina, and Jackson Sullivan. Head Coach, Dave Chisholm with Coaches, Bill Champa, Ryan Laplante, and Jim Leavitt.