NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- New Rochelle's Christopher Fulco and his 12-Under Braves baseball team spent a dream week in upstate Cooperstown, N.Y., last August playing in the home of the baseball Hall of Fame.
Fulco had promised the team of all New Rochelle boys for a number of years on taking this trip and playing in the Cooperstown Tournament and the trip became a reality.
"The dream was made possible by a lot of hard work by both our parents and our boys," Fulco said. "Each weekend in the spring and summer, the team moms, led by Doreen Gomez took a number of boys to various stops along the way - Stop & Shop and ShopRite on Palmer Avenue in New Rochelle, Dunkin' Donuts on North Avenue, Food Town, DeCicco's, Mirage Diner and North Avenue Deli to raise funds."
The Braves got support from sponsors; Kenny Hicks - Acura of Westchester on Palmer Avenue, Premium Nissan of New Rochelle, New Rochelle Chevrolet, Flash Realty-Chris Fulco, Palmer Automotive, Burkes Auto Body, Sammarco Stone & Supply, J.A. Fama Masonry & Deanna's Pizzeria.
"Without the help of our sponsors, this trip would not have taken affect," Fulco said. "Like the boys, all our sponsors our home grown from New Rochelle. The boys and I can't thank them enough." The Braves won a Westchester Baseball Association title in 2011 but had roster changes and a move up to a bigger playing field in age-group play.
"The 2013 New Rochelle District team made one of the best runs in New Rochelle history and had one of the strongest hitting teams in the country," Fulco said. "Our team had seven of the 12 players from that team. All in all these boys had enough baseball in their blood to play well in Cooperstown."The Braves coaching staff included Joe Fama and Fulco's older son, Chris Fulco.
"It was a big learning curve for the boys as in the middle of the District run, they were playing on larger fields. All in all it was a great learning experience for them," Fulco said. "After every game a standings was posted in the middle of the dorms and with 104 teams participating in the Cooperstown Classic."
The Cooperstown Tourney is a week-long event filled with baseball and interaction of the players from 104 teams from around the world, whose players meet and exchange team pins.
On the field the Braves won their first three games and were 3-1 after four and finished 3-3 overall and 55th overall. In the playoffs they were finally eliminated in the first round to a New Jersey team. During league play they played teams from Buffalo, upstate N.Y., Connecticut and Miami, Florida.
"Overall the New Rochelle Braves had a great showing in the tournament," Fulco said. "Thanks to the hard work put in by this team, the Braves will be making this trip annually."
The New Rochelle Braves players were Tyler Bradshaw, Connor Bradshaw, Alex Jeraci, Anthony Fama, Christopher Semenza, Caesar Chalof, Duke Gomez, Nick Scollard, Ryan Diaz, Tyler Dorsainville, who all attend Albert Leonard School, and Tyler Fulco, (Iona Prep) and Owen Kelly, (St. John & Paul School).
The New Rochelle Braves are run by Commissioner Anthony D'Angelo, Assistant GM Jack Caliendo & Director of Baseball Operations, New Rochelle Varsity Head Baseball Coach Pete Annunziata.