Friday, 06 August 2010 00:00
The Glen Cove Cougars 12U baseball team traveled to Cooperstown, NY to compete in the July National Cooperstown Tournament of Champions. There were 24 teams from across the U.S. (CA, CO, IL, IN, MA, NJ, OH, TX, WI). The tournament is competitive with 6 pool play games in three days with single elimination playoffs.
The first game was against Oak Lawn Lightning from Illinois. The game was played on the “Green Monster” field, replicating Boston’s Fenway Green Monster Fence. Thornton Scott set the tone for Glen Cove with a lead-off home run. The Cougars batted around in the first inning scoring 5 runs on 6 hits. The Lightning would answer back with 3 runs in the bottom of the first to close the gap to 5-3. In the second inning, Glen Cove would bat around again continuing their torrid offensive attack scoring 7 runs. Mike Manzione, Andrew Gerin and Chris Kasparian hit homeruns to stretch the score to 12-3. The Lightning would not go away quietly and threatened in each of the next two innings, but Manzione settled in and pitched well allowing only two more runs. Glen Cove capped the scoring with homeruns by Connor Hehn in the third inning and Manzione in the fourth inning. The final score was 17-5.
The second game was against the Delta Dawgs of Brentwood, California. The Delta Dawgs were 12U Super Series State Champions in Davis, CA in the Spring. It was an all out slugfest. After trading 5 runs in the first inning, the Delta Dawgs pulled away to a 15-8 lead after 4 innings. It was too many runs to spot the hard-hitting Californian team as Glen Cove tried valiantly to stay within reach. The Cougars fell short to a final of 16-12. Chris Palmieri (1-2, 2RBIs), Jonathan Capobianco (2-3, 2RBIs), Joe Suozzi (2-4, RBI) and Mike Manzione (1-3, HR, 3RBIs), who hit his third homerun in two games, led Glen Cove’s hitting attack.
Game 3 was against the Fair Haven Diamonds of New Jersey. The Cougars rebounded nicely behind a strong pitching performance from Jon Capobianco winning 8-0. Capobianco pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only 2 hits with 7 strikeouts. Eric Belyea hit a grand slam that broke the game open to 5-0 after 3 innings. Manzione and Hehn added homeruns to cap the scoring.
Glen Cove had the night game against Saginaw, Texas. Saginaw had just won the 12U Super Series State Championship in Lewisville prior to coming to Cooperstown. Trailing 1-0, Glen Cove saw an opening in the bottom of the 3rd inning against the hard-throwing Texas pitcher, when Belyea reached on a walk, followed by Thornton Scott’s single. Up came Suozzi who was hit by a pitch loading the bases for Capobianco. With the count 2-0, Capobianco served up the next offering for a grand slam well over the right-centerfield wall for a 4-1 Glen Cove lead. In the 5th inning, Suozzi hit his second hit of the game and eventually scored when the Texas pitcher walked in a run to make the score 5-1. With the bases loaded, Kevin Shannon stunned the crowd with a grand slam deep to centerfield. The Cougars got strong pitching from Manzione and excellent defensive plays by Kevin Antoniotti, Andrew Gerin and Thornton Scott. Glen Cove won the game 9-1.
Coming off the big win against Texas, Glen Cove continued their offensive attack against the Highland Braves of Illinois the next day. The Cougars batted around in the first inning scoring 9 runs with back-to-back homeruns by Suozzi and Capobianco followed by homeruns by Hehn, Shannon and Manzione. Suozzi hit another homerun in the 3rd inning and Chris Kasparian hit a three-run homerun in the bottom of the 4th inning to cap the mercy scoring 19-7.
Next up was the Clifton Park, NY Knights. After trailing 2-0 at the end of the 1st inning, Glen Cove scored in the top of the 2nd inning when Brian O’Connell reached on a fielder’s choice scoring Hehn. Joseph Martino and Chris Palmieri had back-to-back RBI singles to give Glen Cove a 3-2 lead. The Cougars went on to win 8-3. Suozzi hit a solo homerun in the 4th inning and Michael Payton reached base in all three at-bats with two stolen bases.
Glen Cove entered the single-elimination round of the playoffs as the 6th seed out of 24 teams with a first round bye. The first playoff game was against the Romeosville Rattlers of Illinois. The Rattlers jumped on the Cougars with a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning. But the Cougars answered back in the bottom half of the inning when Capobianco hit a solo homerun to tie the game and Shannon hit an RBI single to give Glen Cove a 2-1 lead. Capobianco pitched well through 5 innings keeping the Rattlers off-balanced with a steady mix of off-speed pitches. Capobianco eventually tired in the 6th inning giving way to the bull pen with the score 3-1 in favor of Glen Cove. The scrappy Rattlers answered with two homeruns in the 6th on their way to a 4-3 victory. Glen Cove finished the tournament with a respectable 5-2 record overall.
One week of intensely competitive baseball made for a lifetime of memories. From the opening ceremony to the closing ceremony, the Glen Cove Cougars had a great time. The Glen Cove Cougars would like to thank all the parents, fans and the Glen Cove Junior Baseball and Softball organization for their support.
The Glen Cove Cougars consists of Kevin “Antonuch” Antoniotti, Eric “Big E” Belyea, Jonathan “J-Cap” Capobianco, Andrew “Jerd” Gerin, Connor “Cone-er” Hehn, Chris “Scoop” Kasparian, Michael “Moe” Manzione, Joseph “Martini” Martino, Brian “Doyle” O’Connell, Chris “Braun” Palmieri, Michael “Paytona” Payton, Thornton “T” Scott, Kevin “K” Shannon, Joseph “Suozz” Suozzi.