The Green Hornets 12U select baseball team wrapped up an excellent all-around season with a strong performance at the esteemed Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament at the site of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Severna Park’s 12U ball players went 36-21-1 overall across both league and tournament play with successes dotting the spring and summer season.
The team, comprising Nick Nobleza, Riley Handwerger, Lawson Fenn, Benji Beisler, Andrew Kummer, Nick Hulme, Cade Schuetter, Ryder Halloran, Jayden Dennis, Charlie Hartman, Tavion Griffin and Jacob Williams, began stacking up victories from the spring’s first pitch. The Green Hornets went 5-0 to win the Ripken Opening Day Tournament in Aberdeen in the final weekend of March, beating the OC Raptors of New York by a final score of 16-7 in the tournament’s championship game.
Playing their regular season in the Chesapeake Regional Amateur Baseball League, known as the CRAB League and widely considered the region’s most competitive league at the 12U level, the Green Hornets produced a solid 12-11 record.
Throughout the season, the team was led offensively by Schuetter (.540 average, 22 home runs, 68 RBIs) and Handwerger (.423 average, 79 runs, 43 stolen bases) and received excellent pitching from Hulme (54 innings pitched, 53 strikeouts, 3.44 ERA) and Kummer (52.2 innings pitched, 30 strikeouts, 4.57 ERA).
The Green Hornets went a combined 11-2 in three Ripken Tournaments (Opening Day, Memorial Day Classic and Turn Two) in Aberdeen and were runners-up in the Armed Forces Classic in Frederick in June.
In July, the Green Hornets took part in one of the country’s great baseball traditions and traveled to Cooperstown along with 12U teams from all over the country for a mega-tournament of 104 teams. The tournament is a rite-of-passage for 12U baseball players, who transition to full-sized diamonds as 13-year-olds and play their final 12U ball at the hallowed ground of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Green Hornets represented Severna Park proudly in their trek to Cooperstown, going 7-3 while playing against the sixth-, eighth-, ninth-, 21st-, 25th and 30th-seeded teams in the 104-team field. As a team, the Green Hornets hit 27 home runs at the tournament and scored 123 runs in 10 games against teams from Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Utah, Virginia and Maryland.
Severna Park won three elimination games on July 10 by a combined score of 41-10 to advance to the round of 16 out of 104 teams; the team became the first Green Hornets team to get to the round of 16 at Cooperstown since the 2013 squad.
The team is coached by head coach Chad Hartman and assistant coaches James Williams, Scott Handwerger, Michael Kummer and Anthony Dennis.
Hartman said the trip to Cooperstown was something the boys had anticipated eagerly as they’ve grown up playing together.
“We have been looking forward to Cooperstown since our 8U season, and the actual experience far exceeded our expectations as coaches,” said Hartman. “The boys created memories and bonds, both on and off the field, that will last a lifetime.”
Hartman said the extended support network for the players and the surrounding Severna Park community played a role in its success and memorable summer.
“I want to thank the assistant coaches who devoted countless hours to the boys throughout the year so that they could grow and develop as baseball players and young men,” said Hartman. “We are also very fortunate to have a great group of parents that continuously supported the team and coaching staff. Lastly, I want to thank our local sponsors who played a big role in our fundraising efforts that helped send the boys to Cooperstown.
Hartman said the team’s success on the field was the perfect ending to their time as little league baseball players.
“For them to play at such a high level and have so much success up there was really just icing on the cake,” he said. “Each player had a moment/moments up in Cooperstown that led to us winning a baseball game, whether it be at the plate, on the mound or defensively. It was truly a team effort the entire week.”