CLEARWATER - The pride of the Clearwater Yankees swelled this month as the team won 10 straight games while competing for the youth baseball national championship at Cooperstown, N.Y.
The final game of the tournament at Cooperstown Dreams Park was played against the Armour Baseball team from Parker, Colo. The Clearwater Yankees — a Travel Ball League squad of boys 12 and younger from Clearwater and surrounding areas — narrowly missed winning the championship, dropping that game by a score of 8-9.
But in the tournament run before that loss, the Yankees went undefeated against teams from Louisiana, California, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania.
“They hit 56 home runs in 11 games and outscored opponents 190-60 in the first 10 games,” said the team's manager, Marc La Macchia.
“... A player only dreams of that kind of success in that short of time,” said La Macchia speaking of the team's accomplishments since its season started in February. “The boys really drank the Kool-Aid and put in a lot of hard work. … I am so proud of them.”
As participants in and runners-up of the Cooperstown Dreams Park national invitational tournament, the Clearwater Yankees players were inducted into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame.
Cooperstown, N.Y. is the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and nearby Doubleday Field, dubbed “the birthplace of baseball.”
Cooperstown Dreams Park was constructed in 1996 and envisioned by a baseball player and grandfather named Louis A. Presutti Sr. (1910-92), who exclaimed, “Every kid in America should have the opportunity to play baseball in Cooperstown!”
Prior to Cooperstown, the Clearwater area boys in blue placed first in three USSSA Baseball tournaments held in Clearwater, Kissimmee and Tampa this season.
La Macchia, a native of Palm Harbor, pitched for Florida State University and for minor league teams affiliated with the Florida Marlins and Texas Rangers. He also played in Italy's Professional Baseball League.
He now operates a baseball instruction business that teaches hitting, fielding, pitching throwing, strength training and conditioning.