The La Cañada Jets, a community boys' baseball team, recently returned from the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame Invitational Tournament at Cooperstown Dreams Park in New York, held June 30 through July 6.
The team was one of 96 from all over the United States and Canada to participate in the tournament that ended with all the players' induction into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Cooperstown complex is known for its national youth baseball tournaments as well as hosting the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Jets played a series of seven games and were entered into the single elimination playoff bracket at the end of the week-long event.
Play began with a nervous 11-3 loss to a New Jersey, but from that point on, the team played excellent baseball.
The Jets beat a tough team from Missouri, 4-3. In the team's third game, which was broadcast by web cam for friends and family, the Jets decided to pitch all players.
Nine of the 11 players were interested and all participated in a two-hit, 12 -1 victory over a North Carolina team.
The team had two narrow losses, one to a Texas team and one to a team from Maryland.
In the first playoff game, the Jets broke open a close game in the fourth inning against a team from Illinois to win, 9-4.
Advancing to the second round, and down by three in the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs, Kawamura sent a pitch just over the right field wall for a go-ahead grand slam.
The magic continued on the next pitch with Cadiff completing the second of back to back home runs. The Jets sealed the victory with some amazing defense including a force at home.
The Jets finally lost in the night rain under the lights in the third round to a team from Miami, Fla.
Some highlights of the week included great pitching by Alex Cadiff, Jonathan Brink, Daniel Rasmussen, Tyler Zsebik, Damon Medina and Clayton Weirick.
Scott Helbing, Leo Higley and Ryan Kawamura played great in the outfield while Jonathan Jo and Joey Hanson dominated the infield.
The Jets' saw home runs during the week by team members Cadiff, Zsebik, Hanson and Kawamura. Rasmussen hit three home runs, a triple and a double, including a grand slam and 10 RBIs. Brink added two doubles with 11 RBIs.
Helbing had some timely hits; Jo got on a hitting streak mid-tournament; Weirick had some clutch hits.
At the closing ceremonies, one of the founders of the Cooperstown Dreams Park told the assembled crowd that the Jets and two other teams had the distinction of having played three games in a row, back to back, before being eliminated
The La Cañada Jets have much to be proud of and have great memories of a wet and wild week in New York.