Franklin Township Baseball League 12U Team Makes Waves In Cooperstown

Team members practiced Aug. 29 for the upcoming fall ball season.

More than a dozen players, their parents and coaches from the Franklin Township Baseball League made some noise in Cooperstown, NY recently at a national Little League tournament.

At the end of the whirlwind week, which saw the FTBL 12U team play three games in one day, the Warriors found themselves in the Cooperstown All Star Village tournament’s top 10 final standings.

The tournament, which the team played from Aug. 17-23, consisted of six preliminary games, followed by a single-elimination tournament.

The 12U team finished the preliminary round seeded 5th out of 62 teams, holding a 5-0-1 record.

It was the events that led to the tie that most impressed Neil Patel, the team’s head coach. Other coaches accompanying the team were Sonny Patel, Jim Makowski and Mark Gordon.

“We were down 11-4,” Patel said. “We needed seven runs to nail it.”

Patel said he told the team that they needed just one spark to get rolling, and they got it in the form of a put-out after a rundown of an opposing team’s player.

Photo: Franklin Township Baseball League.

That led to a 3-run inning for Franklin, which gave the team the confidence they needed to secure the tie.

What else impressed Patel, he said, was that Franklin was the only team in the top 20 or 25 that was a true, home-grown team.

Other teams, he said, were club teams comprised of players from a number of different towns.

“All the kids we took were home-grown Franklin Township Baseball League,” he said. “I would say that was a very successful trip for our club.”

“I’m truly truly proud of how hard they worked,” Patel said.

Patel said teh team made a name for itself during teh tournament.

“Random coaches, random players, random parents would come up and we would just talk, and they would say where are you from, and I would say Franklin, and they would right away say, oh, the Franklin Warriors,” he said. “Everybody realized how well we were doing every game.”

The team’s participation wasn’t a sure bet. Patel said he had applied for a slot last year, but the roster was already filled.

Patel said he called the host organization twice a month to see if there was an opening, and finally got the answer he was seeking in April.

The the hard part began: the fundraising.

The team needed about $20,000 to pay for the 14 players, coaches and an umpire and to pay for the bunk house, where they slept. Patel said players’ parents took on the task of raising the needed money, and succeeded.

“There was Krispy Kreme fundraising, a car wash, they did something at the 4th of July, but the biggest thing we had was the Hit-a Thon,” Patel said. “We raised almost half of our budget from the Hit-A -Thon.”

The tournament represented a coming-of-age for the team members, as it was the last game they’ll play on a small, Little League field. From now on, they’ll play on regulation-sized baseball fields, with longer base paths and a longer distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate.

“I think we represented out town, our league, exceptionally,” Patel said.

Team members were at the baseball complex on Aug. 29, practicing for the upcoming fall ball season. Here are some scenes from that day:

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