After a week in Cooperstown the 12-U Elite Aces have returned to Newton County, although not as champions, but as a team that competed at an extremely high level – with some success – and plenty of memories.
The Elite Aces finished their week in Cooperstown ranked 38th out of 104 teams. They came just one win away from making it into the top 16.
“They played well. The league was awesome. We all stayed in the barracks together, just tons of memories and stories. The kids will have lifetime memories from now,” head coach Donnie Coe said. “I could not be more proud. The games we won were against very, very tough teams.”
“It was just a great experience for a 12-year old boy to be going out there and spend that much time with your friends and then parents had an opportunity to watch their kids play.”
The team was able to win three games against teams from Tennessee, Colorado and Utah.
Arguably the most dramatic game of their tournament, the Elite Aces edged their Tennessee counterparts 6-5, in a strong comeback win.
Down 5-2 headed to the top of the sixth, the light at the end of the tunnel was growing dim. Koby Dunn, however, provided the LED light bulb that lit up the rest of the tournament.
After scoring one run to make it 5-3, in a scene similar to a movie – actually quite similar to the film Major League – with two outs, Garrett Mitchell and JT Webb stood pat on base. Dunn put down a two-run single to give his team the lead and eventually the game.
Webb pitched four innings and Jordan Pace came in and finished the game.
Against the Diamond Club from Colorado, the Elite Aces didn’t leave the game to chance, as they won 8-5.
Dunn pitched the first five innings and Dylan Coe recorded the save. Webb led the team offensively, accounting for four of its runs, as he pounded a two-run homer and a two-run double in the game.
In yet another close one, the Elite Aces pulled out a 2-1 victory against a club from Utah.
Tate Marks pitched a complete game, allowing the only run scored. Webb recorded a RBI and Dylan Coe drove in Sean Poe for the winning run.
They didn’t win it all, but they come back to Covington with the memories of a lifetime. Donnie Coe added that the players traded pins with other teams and it was a goal of each player to collect every team’s pin.
“The wins and losses are always fun, but they’re not going to remember their record when they went to Cooperstown at 12 (years old). They’re going to remember the memories they made,” he said. “Right now it’s just about having and learning the game and making these lifelong memories.”
While there, the team had the opportunity to visit the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. Donnie Coe said the entire city is built around baseball and that it was a really unique experience.
“We went up against teams that recruit players from hours away that don’t even practice together, they just show up on weekends to play together,” Donnie Coe said. “Our kids they competed well, we represented ourselves well, as far as the playing goes. I couldn’t have been more proud.”