Last week, 11 boys from the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association experienced the thrill of a lifetime at the Dreams Tournament in Cooperstown, New York, home of the MLB Hall of Fame.
The Palisades Waves, coached by Brian Grimes, flew across the country to take on some of the nation’s best 12U Pony All-Star squads and advanced to the round of 32 in an elite field of 104 teams.
The Waves started off hot, racking up 14 hits and blasting six home runs—including the first one ever by Mason Dilullo—in a 19-2 victory over the Elmhurst Cougars of Illinois. Jack Gargiulo hit two homers while Pierce Bergstein, Thomas Wynperle and Henry Mariscal each added one as Dilullo had thee strikeouts in one and two-thirds innings and Spencer Rodman pitched three innings.
The Waves next faced the Peachtree Ridge Lions of Georgia and overcame a 4-0 deficit to win 12-6. Oliver Arenson started the comeback with a two-RBI single, Wynperle had a homer and four RBIs and pitcher Sam Stern had four strikeouts in three innings.
Mariscal pitched a complete game in a 19-0 rout of API Big Red from Maryland, as Bergstein and Jonah Behar homered.
In their fourth game, the gritty Waves loaded the bases in the last inning but lost 9-6 to the Rochester Recruits despite homers by Gage Grimes and Mariscal and four strong innings on the mound by Dilullo, who sruck out five.
After an 8-2 loss to Athletes Warehouse from North Carolina, the Waves suffered a 15-1 defeat to the MAD Mavericks of Tennessee, who made it all the way to the quarterfinals. The Waves’ lone run was a solo homer by Mariscal.
A weather delay pushed the start time of the seventh game until after midnight, but the Waves opened a 6-2 advantage thanks to Grimes’ two-run homer and solo shots by Bergstein and Gargiulo. Michigan rallied for 10 runs in the fourth inning in a torrential downpour. The game resumed at 11 the next morning and Bergstein ignited the Waves’ comeback with a three-run homer. An RBI double by Mariscal brought the Waves within one run and Mariscal, on his 13th birthday, pitched two scoreless innings to give his team a chance to win and the waves did just that, scoring five runs in the fifth to avoid elimination with a 15-11 triumph. Logan Bailey had the go-ahead RBI single.
Last Thursday, the Waves took on a well-rested SBA Cobras squad from North Carolina and fell 15-2 despite solo homers by Bergstein and Gargiulo.
Bergstein ended up with 12 hits in eight games while Gargiulo and Grimes each added 11. Ten of the 11 players pitched in the tournament with Mariscal and Dilullo each recording eight strikeouts.