Long Island’s Team Steel Select 12U youth baseball team capped off a perfect 10-0 week and outlasted 52 teams for the organization’s first Cooperstown championship on Aug. 23 at the All-Star Village in Oneonta, N.Y.
After going 6-0 in pool play and earning the No. 3 seed, Team Steel Select won all four of its games on Aug. 23, defeating teams from New York, Maryland and Virginia. In the title game, Team Steel Select knocked off Virginia’s RBA South Prep Green, 14-2.
Head Coach Rich Montchal said it was a complete team effort from players and coaches that helped Team Steel Select maneuver through a 10-game schedule over five days.
“It really was a team effort all the way through,” Montchal said. “We went there with 11 players, hit 39 home runs and had nine different kids hit a home run. Every game had a different contributor, whether it was hitting or pitching. I’ve been doing this for a long time and to win a long tournament like this it’s based on your success as a team, a little bit of luck and peaking at the right time. Our commitment to the Steel Coaching System and keeping the focus on the process of improving our performance while having fun put us in a position to perform well in high pressure games.”
Team Steel Select not only took home the team championship, but it also claimed victories in the various skills competitions. Logan Alberto won the Home Run Derby with 19 home runs and the combination of John Margolies, Dan Rubin and Joe Chanis won the Fastest Double Play. Jack Fanning placed second in the Fastest Player.
Team Steel Select was invited this past July to compete in the National Youth Baseball Championships (NYBC) and squared off against several of the top teams in the country, including the eventual 12U National Champions California’s MVP Hustle Garcia. Montchal credits the NYBC and its competition level for setting his team up for success in Cooperstown.
“The kids talked about how competing in the National Youth Baseball Championships prepared them for the Cooperstown tournament more than any other tournament they played all year long,” Montchal said.
Founded in 2013 and based at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, N.Y., Team Steel is Steel Sports’ elite youth baseball organization focused on player and character development and helping young athletes reach their potential on and off the field. All Team Steel coaches are guided by the Steel Coaching System, which is built to create a positive coaching environment and reinforce a culture of Teamwork, Respect, Integrity and Commitment.
“At Steel Sports, we strive to provide our athletes and families with the best possible youth sports experience,” Steel Sports Director of Baseball Joe Santilli said. “The environment in Cooperstown is very special and provided a platform for our players to further develop lifelong relationships and memories. We are extremely proud of Team Steel Select’s accomplishments.”