Local teams take trip to Cooperstown

Randolph coach Nate Armella knew a trip down south for his Cardinals would be too expensive this season.

Instead, he wanted to take them to Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame and a chance to play on Doubleday Field.

Armella sent out a mass email looking for an opponent.

Pine Valley coach Chris Buczek couldn’t respond fast enough.

“I think I would have responded faster if I had an OK from everyone else,” Buczek said. “It’s one of those things you shouldn’t pass up. Guys are already asking if we can do it next year. I think it’s something everyone would want to do.”

Both teams left for the holy grail of baseball this past Sunday and spent four hours in the museum. On Monday, with snow flurries in the air, the two teams competed in a game on the same field where it all started.

“It was awesome,” Armella said. “It was a chance for us to get away as a team. We got to see the Hall of Fame and play at Doubleday. It was awesome, minus the weather. The highlight of the trip was seeing these guys when we went into the Hall of Fame. They were very appreciative of the game and the history. That was probably one of the biggest highlights for me.”

Buczek spent most of the four hours in the museum giving his players history lessons on some of the members of the Hall of Fame. He also had to explain to some players who Babe Ruth was.

Every player on both teams got a chance to play on the historic field, and though Pine Valley was victorious, it was more about the opportunity.

“It was a good experience to go from the Hall Of Fame one day and play on the field you read about in the Hall Of Fame the next day,” Buczek said. “Each kid got to play and get an at-bat. That’s what was most important for us. It’s an experience the kids won’t forget.”

Pine Valley raised money through a breakfast fundraiser to pay for the trip, which Buczek noted was a team bonding getaway.

“You just bring everyone closer doing something like this,” he said. “We went to dinner and a movie as a team. We had breakfast as a team and went right to the game.”

When it was all over with, Buczek noted he wouldn’t mind spending more time in the museum, “but that’s coming from a baseball guy.”