Winchester baseball player heading to Cooperstown
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By BETH ZUMWALT
A youth baseball team largely comprised of athletes from the 12u Jamison’s Future Swings team is gearing up for competition in Cooperstown, N.Y. a town synonymous with baseball.
Thrice Kirkpatrick is a member of the team.
“I knew the coach was trying to get us to play there,” Kirkpatrick said. “When I found out we were going, I was excited because only 12 year-olds get to know.”
Kirkpatrick is usually on the mound for his team and when not he is in the outfield or sharing third base duties with his buddy from Griggsville-Perry, Knox Dunham.
Kirkpatrick says his favorite pitch to hit is “one that comes right down the middle.”
Kirkpatrick is not stranger to the ball diamond, having played since he was five, but never on such hallowed grounds.
“He did t-ball and all of that and started travel ball with an 8U team,” McKenzie Kirkpatrick, said.
“There are a lot of major league baseball players who have played on that field,” Dunham said.
“Playing in the Cooperstown Dreams Tournament is exciting for my team for a number of reasons: the tournament is held in Cooperstown – the ‘Disney World’ of baseball, your team has to be selected to play in the tournament and the tournament is only offered to one age group,” Brett Rohlk, the coach of the team, said. “The 12u team I assembled was lucky to be selected to play during the Fourth of July week, which will be special for these athletes and their families, but it is a big financial commitment.”
During the week-long tournament, the team will stay in barracks with other athletes from across the United States and the Baseball Hall of Fame. The entry fee for the tournament is approximately $2,000 for each player. The team raffled a meat bundle recently to help fund about a quarter of each athlete’s entry fee and invite anyone interested in sponsoring part of the trip to contact a team member. Team members are from Jacksonville, Chatham, Winchester, Morrisonville, Springfield, Mt. Sterling.
Kirkpatrick said his years of playing on a traveling team have given him the opportunity to meet new friends and, with today’s technology, they are able to keep in touch year around.
Kirkpatrick is also member of his school’s basketball team and enjoys hunting and fishing.