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12AAA team will play in Cooperstown

The Rosemount 12AAA baseball team has done well this season.

The team had a 15-4 regular season record, and placed second or third in most of its tournaments, according to head coach Steve Turner.

Rosemount now has an opportunity to prove their mettle against other teams nationwide.

Rosemount's 12AAA team leaves next Thursday for Cooperstown, N.Y., to play in the annual Cooperstown Dreams Park National Invitational Tournament.

The tournament is held over 12 weeks to honor the best youth baseball teams in America.

At the end of the week, Rosemount's team and coaches will be inducted into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame.

The 12AAA team, which will play the week of Aug. 16-22, was grandfathered into the tournament. Rosemount earned the right to attend the tournament several years ago after winning a qualifying tournament. Since then, each 12AAA team has had the opportunity to play in the tournament.

"Every 12-year-old team gets to go," Turner said.

Tryouts were held earlier this year for a spot on the city's only 12AAA team, according to Turner. Representatives from Macalester College, the Miesville Mudhens and the Red Wing Aces oversaw the tryout process. Turner said they all determined which players made the AAA, AA, or A teams for the community's programs.

It costs about $18,000 to send the team out to Cooperstown, and the 12AAA team has been busy fund-raising for the trip. Team members have gone around to local businesses asking for donations. They also put together pancake feeds and sold sweatshirts and pullovers.

Much of the funding has been put up by team's parents, and the team has about 75 percent of the expense covered as of press time.

While in Cooperstown, the team will play eight games, two each day from Sunday Aug. 17 through Aug. 20. An elimination round begins Thursday Aug. 21, where the boys will play until they lose.

Participating in the tournament is fun enough, but several players are excited to stop at Yankee Stadium, according to Tim Roszak, the team's assistant coach.

Although this will be the last year Yankee Stadium is in operation, Cooperstown, N.Y, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, has its own allure for some team members.

"Hopefully the kids will have success," Roszak said. "But just actually being in Cooperstown will be really cool."

Each week from May to August, 86 teams from across the nation compete at Cooperstown Dream Park.

Because there are teams from across the nation, both coaches expect tough competition from teams that call states like Arizona and California home.

Those teams can play baseball year round instead of having seasonal play, which makes them tough to beat. However, there are certain incentives for the Rosemount team to do will.

"We did tell the kids if we can win half of our games we'll throw them a big pizza party," Roszak said. "If we can win half we'll be happy, because the competition is pretty difficult."