Ballard makes it to ‘Cooperstown’

Clay Ballard warms up before one of the games this weekend at Cooperstown Dreams Park in New York.
DTL Staff
Staff Writer

Most baseball players can only dream of getting to Cooperstown, New York and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

But with the advent in recent years of the Cooperstown Dreams Park, a complex with 22 lighted fields surrounded by a sports village, young players today not only are getting there in their own way, they are playing, too.

Chip Ballard, the 12-year-old son of Jamey and Katie Ballard and a seventh-grader at Oak Hill Academy this fall, is playing in one of the Cooperstown Dreams Park tournaments this week. He’s a member of the Biloxi Bandits travel team, which is one of four teams from Mississippi in this week’s event, which has more than 100 teams from more than 20 states.

Ballard tied for third out of 104 players in the Golden Arm competition. Brayden Piciorek, of the Desoto, Miss., Cardinals, was also third.

Through Monday afternoon, the Bandits had gone 1-2 in their games, which started Saturday. Games and the 104-team single-elimination tournaments continue this week.

Cooperstown is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame as well as a American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame.

During 10, one-week tournaments during the summer, it will attract more than 1,000 12-year-old travel teams from across the country for what it calls the ‘Little Majors.’