COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — The tiny hamlet of Cooperstown is usually known for being the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but during the week of July 24-30, 12 young men started on a journey at Cooperstown’s own “Dreams Park” of making their own dreams come true as Bladen County product Fredy Wooten and his Rock Solid Red Baseball Team out of Wilmington became members of The American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame.
Although championship baseball was the business at hand, along the journey they developed character, tenacity, humility, teamwork, sportsmanship, and most of all heart.
On Sunday, July 26, they started their run to the championship by blanking the Lenape Valley Rebels from Pennsylvania 16-0. In game two, the lopsided victories continued with a smashing of the Louisiana Legends 14-2. Rock Solid Red decided to continue the “hit parade” by blasting the North Hunterdon Youth of New Jersey 19-1 and the Westlake Demons of Ohio 15-0.
On Tuesday, the last day of pool play, the team refused to lose as they defeated the On Deck Baseball Academy from Nevada 14-9 and the Syracuse Spartans of New York 13-1. After three days of pool play, Wooten and Rock Solid Red clinched the No. 2 spot out of 104 teams by only allowing 2.16 runs per game.
On the road to the championship, Rock Solid Red had to defeat four teams. In the first game of the single-elimination tournament, they crushed the No. 34 seed Hornell Raiders of New York, 15-2. After a quick turnaround time, the team representing the Tar Heel State defeated the No. 47 seed, the Tigers out of California, by the score of 18-9.
After a good night’s sleep, they returned to defeat the No. 10 seed Danville Mustangs 20-0. In the semifinal contest, the Rock Solid Red Team would play their closest game yet but defeated the Texas Gladiators, the No. 14 seed, 9-8, to make it to the big dance on Thursday night.
Riding high after a string of victories, this confident bunch for Rock Solid Red was ready for the challenges of the championship game. However, the team suffered its first defeat at the hands of the South Jersey Sand Sharks Blue by the score of 8-3 and finished second among the 104-team field.
As for the hometown hero, Fredy Wooten, during this championship run, his individual stats were phenomenal. Wooten had a .520 batting average and hit three home runs, all while patrolling the outfield.