The Cedar Grove 12u Panthers Baseball Team started off their 2019 summer season with an unforgettable week-long tournament at Cooperstown Dreams Park, touted as the “Greatest Tournament in America”, located in beautiful Cooperstown, New York.
For more than 20 years, a 12u baseball team has represented Cedar Grove at this national invitational tournament. Kevin Johnson returned this year as a coach after participating as a player on the successful 2011 Cedar Grove 12u team. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the players,” said Kevin. “You spend a week with your friends playing baseball at a national level in Cooperstown.”
Competing among a pool of 104 teams from across the country, the Panthers did well in their seven games against teams from Georgia, Massachusetts, Alabama, Michigan, Tennessee and Florida. During the week, they also competed in several baseball-related events and visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a team. “It’s so great that the donors, parents and especially the coaches were able to give our boys this incredible opportunity,” said Tim Heyer. “As they reach a point where they’re coming of age, they were able to travel together with their friends, meet kids from all around the country, and ultimately create amazing memories that they’ll have their entire lives.”
The boys came back home to Cedar Grove to face a grueling 10-game schedule and also participated in High School Coach Cardinale’s summer baseball camp.
They ended their summer season with an outstanding 9-1 record. On Tuesday night, the Panthers defeated Lincoln Park at Blasi Field with a score of 6- 1. The boys now advance to the Summer Championship Game against Wayne PAL.
The Cedar Grove 12u Panthers are: Marco Contorno, Kurt Heyer, Anthony Johnson, Christian Kaulback, Matthew Kuilan, Matthew Norman, Stephen Paradiso, Alexander Reese, Dominic Reynolds, Ben Sellers, Ronnie Sheridan and Matthew Tafuri. Coaches: Kevin Johnson, Mike Kuilan, Ronnie Sheridan and Kevin Johnson, Sr.