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Port Washington Youth Activities (PYA) was able to send two baseball teams to Cooperstown Dreams Park for the 2002 tournament. This event continues for 13 weeks through the summer and is attended each week by 64 teams from around the country. The Port Washington teams attended week #7 from July 27 to Aug. 1. The Port Legends were made up of 11 players, who are the 12-year-old group. The Port Washington All Stars were the younger team, made of 11-year-old players. This event began in 1997 and Port has been there with one or two teams every year.

The first few days, Sunday to Wednesday morning each team played two games per day in order to be seeded for the single elimination tournament. The tournament was played Wednesday afternoon through Thursday evening. Many of the competitive teams consist of wide ranging talent, as they draw players and from many larger communities, while the Port teams draw players from our small community. Therefore, Port was not as competitive, as the top rated teams. Subsequently, the Port teams were lower in the seed and were unfortunately eliminated early in the playoffs.

However, winning was not the only goal, competing with these teams was well worth the trip. Besides, the boys had a lot of fun touring the Baseball Hall of Fame, trading and collecting the various team pins and participating in other activities in the Leatherstocking area of upstate New York. Even a couple of trips to Cooperstown Fun Park were in order. All in all a great time was had by all.

Highlights of the week for the Legends, was a come-from-behind victory against the Novi Express (MI) for a 9 to 8 victory. Brian Miller hit a home run in the game against the West Newbury Sachem's (MA). A spectacular double play was turned in by shortstop Rich Imperatore to first-baseman James Garcia then to catcher Chris Ryder in the playoff game against the Herndon Virginia All Stars, but the Legends lost the playoff game 3 to 2 in a squeeker. The Port Washington All Stars had a challenging week playing against teams much older, yet they gained valuable experience for next year's tournament. All-Star slugger Andrew Weil had a homer to his credit, while Matt Vavaro, Zach Greenwald and Robert Furino turned in their excellent fielding during the tournament.

The Legends would like to thank their sponsors who so generously assisted in helping them: DiMaggio's Restaurants; Sal Zimbardi & Associates, Sheild's Hardare, Mint Condition, Port Washington Chiropractic, Plumbing Pro and Angelo's Hair Salon. The sponsors for the All-Stars were the Helfront Group, Vandermooler Specialists and the Dilascio and Christie Families.

The manager and coaches of both teams, Legends, Stretch Ryder and Rich Imperatore and the All-Stars; Frank Furino, Mark Schneider, Dan Weil and Bill Olmeltchenko would like to thank the community for their support and the courageous parents for being at every game all week.


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