Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

July 11, 2013
Off to Cooperstown

Stansbury Park Stallions little league team heads out to compete in international tournament 

New York gets a taste of Tooele County during the month of July as a little league team from Stansbury Park headed out to Cooperstown for an all-star baseball tournament.

A group of 12 all-stars from Stansbury Park put in work to raise funds out in the community while also training on the field to participate in the Cooperstown Dreams Park little league tournament in Cooperstown, N.Y., from July 13 through July 19. The Stansbury Park Stallions are the lone Utah team in a tournament filled with 104 teams from around North America and the Caribbean.

Cooperstown is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, where the players will have a chance to visit during the off day at the tournament. The players will also be enshrined into the Youth Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the tournament, and they’ll receive commemorative rings during the induction.

While preparing for the Cooperstown tournament, the Stallions had the state all-star tournament to compete in. With all the pressure of playing in high-stakes baseball tournaments, the boys needed a day to let loose and have some fun. So head coach Jeff Loafman put together a practice where the boys could take batting practice with water balloons on June 28.

Loafman said his boys know the importance of playing in Cooperstown, and they are excited to get out there and make history for Tooele County.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for them,” Loafman said. “You talk to the boys, and it’s in every conversation. They talk about what they’re going to do. Once we get into the actual Hall of Fame they all want to go see their team and their favorite player. The movie ‘42’ came out, and so everybody’s a Jackie Robinson fan now. When we get to the Hall of Fame they want to go see Jackie Robinson.”

Loafman said the history surrounding the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown would hopefully leave a lasting impression on the little leaguers as they visit. He said this is the age when kids usually decide if they want to keep playing baseball, and the preparation that’s gone into the Cooperstown trip has motivated his kids to want to keep playing baseball forever.

“This is the age when you really decide ‘Do I want to keep playing baseball or do I want to move on to something else?’” Loafman said. “These kids haven’t gone away from wanting to be part of baseball. To them, to have this opportunity, and to know that they did it on their own merit and raise their own money, it’s a big deal for them.”

The Stallions did a number of fundraising activities to raise the necessary funds to go to Cooperstown. The coaches and parents gave the players the goal to raise $2,200 each toward the trip, and each player accomplished that goal.

“The boys took it upon themselves to create their own fundraisers,” Loafman said. “We’ve done everything from have luncheons at Texas Roadhouse; we’ve sold Little Caesar’s pizza cards; we’ve had car washes; we’ve sold necklaces; the boys made intertwined bracelets and sold them as fundraisers; we’ve cleaned up at local businesses; we’ve done landscaping work. The boys have really worked hard on and off the field.”

With the funds raised and the team currently en route to New York, it’s time to see if the daily practices amid the fundraising efforts will pay off. The Stansbury Park Youth Baseball Association first decided in January to send a team to the Cooperstown tournament. Tryouts were held indoors at Predator Sports, and in February, the coaches chose the players.

“They’re starting to become young men and become very responsible,” Loafman said. “I think this teaches them a lot of life skills — not only baseball, but also how to deal with adversity, how to work hard, how to work through the good and the bad.”

He said these kids have the talent to compete well out in Cooperstown; it’s in their blood.

“They come from talented families,” Loafman said. “They come from high expectations, and they expect to succeed. They put a lot of work in. And then we also have a lot of really smart kids on this team. When you have talent — physical talent and mental talent — that’s a good combination to have.”

 

The 2013 Stansbury Park Stallions

 

Tristan Gillespie

Position: left fielder and catcher

Favorite team: New York Yankees

“Coach sees the potential in me to go and play [in Cooperstown]. He gave me this chance to play in the accelerated league.”

 

Conner Kincaid

Position: pitcher and third baseman

Favorite team: Chicago Cubs

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There’s only one time you can go, and I’m surprised Stansbury Park can go.”

 

Kaeden Kincaid

Position: center fielder

Favorite team: Boston Red Sox

“I want to go have fun, enjoy myself and try to win.”

 

Garret Lindsey

Position: second baseman

Favorite team: New York Yankees

“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”

 

Mitchell Lindsay

Position: Shortstop

Favorite team: New York Yankees

“It’s a privilege. Not everyone can go to an amazing place like Cooperstown.”

 

Ethan Loafman

Position: pitcher, first baseman and outfielder

Favorite team: St. Louis Cardinals

“I can’t wait. We play baseball every day to get ready.”

 

Dylian Moore

Position: center fielder and catcher

Favorite team: Chicago White Sox

“It means a lot to me to go play in Cooperstown because I made it with the bigger kids and can play with everyone older and bigger than me.”

 

Hadley Olson

Position: right fielder

Favorite team: Los Angeles Dodgers

“I’m very excited. Hopefully I can become a Dodger one day.”

 

Creighton Patterson

Position: left fielder

Favorite team: Cincinnati Reds

“I want to be in the MLB one day, so it means a lot to go play in Cooperstown.”

 

Beau “Gus” Rees

Position: second baseman and outfielder

Favorite team: Arizona Diamondbacks

“We’ve worked hard on this. I want to push myself. My cousin played out [in Cooperstown], and he said it was the most fun he’s ever had.”

 

Drake Schlappi

Position: first baseman

Favorite team: New York Mets

“They believe in us and think we’re good enough to compete with other teams.”

 

Jaden Turner

Position: third baseman, first baseman and outfielder

Favorite team: Los Angeles Dodgers

“It’s a great opportunity. Only a few kids get to go.”

Richard Briggs

Community News Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Richard Briggs is community news editor, sports writer and copy editor for the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin. Born in San Diego and raised in St. George, Briggs graduated with a degree in communications from Dixie State College in 2012. While there he worked three years for the college’s newspaper, the Dixie Sun, as a sports writer and sports editor. During his senior year, he was editor in chief. Briggs also is a 2005 graduate from Snow Canyon High School. From 2006 to 2008 he served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints in Kentucky. As community news editor, Briggs writes, edits and manages editorial and photographic content for the Transcript-Bulletin’s inside pages and sections, including Hometown and Bulletin Board.

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