Cody Symonds heading to Cooperstown


Alton youngster competing in national tournament with Roger Allen Rockets



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CODY SYMONDS, seen pitching for Suncook Valley in the District Six tournament in Farmington, is off to Cooperstown, N.Y. for a weeklong tournament against teams from around the country. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
August 18, 2009
ALTON — Being versatile tends to have its advantages, and Alton's Cody Symonds can probably attest to that.

Symonds, who was a key cog in the Suncook Valley 12U Cal Ripken All-Stars, was tabbed for a spot on the Roger Allen Rockets and will be heading to Cooperstown, N.Y. on Friday, Aug. 21, to take part in the National American Tournament of Champions at Cooperstown Dreams Park.

The small town in upstate New York is best known as being the location of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but it is also home to the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame and after playing in the tournament over the course of the coming week, Symonds will be inducted into the hall alongside current Major League players Matt Garza and David Price, to name a few.

While the Rockets are based out of Rochester and nine of the 12 kids that are on the team come from that city, coach Gary Jewell was looking for another versatile piece to round out his squad and Symonds got the call.

"He wanted someone who could hit and catch and pitch," said Symonds. Symonds batted fourth in Suncook's All-Star order, starred on the mound and also did a good deal of work behind the plate, making him the ideal candidate for the position.

Symonds will be heading to New York on Friday and the team will play its first of a guaranteed seven games on Saturday night.

"We're guaranteed seven games, but depending on how good your record is, you get to play more," Symonds said.

Cooperstown Dreams Park is located on 150 acres and features 22 lighted baseball fields and 104 clubhouses. Each week during the summer, the park plays host to 96 youth teams from around the country, amounting to a total of more than 1,200 teams competing each summer for weekly championship titles.

The tournament beginning on Aug. 22 will feature squads from all over the United States, which Symonds says is one of the best things about getting the chance to play on the big stage.

"We get to play against teams from California," he points out. "It will be fun."

Teams of 12 and under players from across the country, including many travel/select and sanctioned teams head to Cooperstown to play unrestricted baseball and vie for a chance to win a weekly national title.

According to the park's Web site, the mission and goal is to promote a high caliber of play and allow young players to experience the purity of baseball as it was meant to be.

"Cooperstown Dreams Park is a place in time where the players are their own heroes," the site states.

Since 1996, playing in the tournaments at the park has presented players with the chance to be inducted into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame. Regardless of their team's outcome, each player is inducted, receiving a Hall of Fame ring and has a photo affixed to the commemorative induction plaque for future enshrinement at the Hall of Fame.

The park's curator and staff are collecting no-hitter balls, uniforms, banners, hats, bats and other important pieces that tell the story of the park to build up the collection to help make the Hall of Fame a success and players are encouraged to leave something behind to add to the Hall of Fame when they take leave of Cooperstown.

For Symonds, the trip falls at the perfect time, as like most every other school kid in America, he is longing for a longer summer vacation, and that's just what he got. The tournament will keep him away from the first week of school at Alton Central School.

However, when he gets back, he'll have a story to tell and will have earned the right to be called a Hall of Famer.

The town leagues in the Suncook Valley Cal Ripken League all chipped in to completely pay for Symonds' trip to New York.

Symonds is the son of Joe and Kerri Symonds of Alton.

For more information on the tournament, as well as tournament results, visit the park's Web site at www.cooperstowndreamspark.com.

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