July 20, 2012 —
By Bill Mullaly
The 12th Annual David Clark Memorial Youth Baseball Tournament was held here in Hudson over the weekend. The tournament was again a complete success with four days of competition involving 12 teams and 29 games. When it was all done late Sunday afternoon the winner was the Lansing Moose Lodge 288. The Moose have been a consistent performer in the DCM tourney as this was their fourth foray to Hudson and they finally left as the champions. The Moose won its first DCM title with a 7-2 triumph over the Maxton Motor Bulldogs from Montpelier, Ohio, on late Sunday afternoon. The game was a rematch from pool play on Saturday morning as both teams played to a 4-4 tie but they would meet again exactly 36 hours later with the Moose coming up big when it counted most. “We were tired, we ran out of pitching and we hit the ball right at them,” said a disappointed MM head coach Dan Casper.”The Moose did hit the ball well and they had that one big inning that cost us.”
In the title game the two best teams collided with the Moose coming out winners. The Moose were led by two players Oakley Lavallii and Alex Balderas who both were named co-most valuable players for the tournament. Both pitched, while Lavallii was the shortstop and Balderas the catcher and both were monster hitters at the plate. Balderas hit a 325 foot homer in Hillsdale at Fields of Dreams.
In the championship game the Moose scored five runs in the third inning to break away from a 1-0 lead to go up 6-0 and they cruised to the win with Balderas on the mound as he went the full seven innings. The Bulldogs of Maxton Motors didn’t quit as they fought back for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to avoid the shutout loss. “We love playing in this tournament,” said Moose head coach Dave Morena. “I mean there is no place out there that you get to play six or seven games in a tournament. This tournament is so unique and we love coming here because of the number of games you get to play. We are happy to have finally won this tournament as we did it by hitting the ball. Our batting had been spotty up until this tournament but we starting hitting the ball real well this weekend.”
The Moose are now 34-31-1 on the season and this was their first tournament title of the summer. “This tournament is a lot of fun as you get some good competition and you get plenty of games,” said Morena. “We will enjoy this and we will be back next summer.”
The Moose advanced to the championship with a 15-3 win over Jackson Western in the first round on Saturday evening. Western had beaten the Moose earlier this summer but Morena noted that was when his team was not hitting the ball. In the quarterfinal game the Moose broke away from a 1-0 deficit to defeat the Adrian Lookouts 6-1. Then the Moose blew past Hickory Corners winning 20-5 to get to the championship game. All the Moose playoff games were at Fields of Dreams in Hillsdale. Then they had to pack up and head to Hudson to play the MM Bulldogs who were in the final after beating last year’s champs Wauseon 9-4 in the other semifinal. In its quarterfinal game MM beat Coldwater 12-1.
*The reason the teams get so many games comes from the belief of tournament founder Bruce Morse. He named the tournament the DCM or David Clark Memorial in 2001 and his whole concept was that David was a ballplayer who enjoyed the game. Playing ball and lots of it is what the DCM is all about and will continue to be in the years to come.
*A fan from one of the Ohio teams commented as they left early Sunday evening that “ the tournament is so well-organized and there is no commotion, chaos or controversy like some other tournaments. Things here are so calm and peaceful and so enjoyable.” This is due to the umpires and they deserve recognition. Dale McFaul of Hudson, Pat McCabe of Osseo, Dan Laws of North Adams, Rick Lee of Pittsford, Nick Adzic of Coldwater, Josh McCabe of Adrian and Cludies Sharp of Hudson did all the umping.
*A special thanks to the Hillsdale Recreation Department and its director Michelle Loren for allowing us the use of Fields of Dreams for the tournament this summer. With the local HHS baseball field not available the DCM tourney organizers scrambled to find a place to play and Fields of Dreams worked out real well. This is the third time in the past four years DCM games have been played at FOD due to an overflow of teams requiring another field.
*A big thanks to Hudsonite Pat Morse for painting the DCM XII logo on the field on both sides near the two bench areas. He also painted number 20 in right field where David used to play his 14U baseball for the Hudson Diamondbacks in the two summers of 1999 and 2000. Morse also did some filming of the DCM XII tourney and will be making a video about the event. Pat Morse has had a part in the DCM since its inception. He played in the first tourney in 2001, has umpired for several years, always paints the field and this year his documentary film will be interesting to watch when completed.
*Watson and Jo Ann Clark, David’s parents, were at most all of the games each of the four days even heading to Hillsdale to FOD to watch some action. At WCP or Will Carleton Park Watson helps rake the field each game and waters it down and his efforts show the teams how much he cares about the games. Watson threw out the ceremonial first pitch last Thursday to start the tournament for the first game. Then on championship Sunday he threw out the first pitch before the final game. Then at the end of the event both of the Clarks pass out awards to the final two teams. Watson and Jo Ann then get their picture taken with the championship team.
*This year 12 teams competed in the 12th annual DCM XII as roman numerals are used for this event just like the Super Bowl another idea of tournament founder Bruce Morse. The record number of teams came in 2009 with 24 and the minimum number to have a tourney is 10 teams. Unfortunately, there was no Hudson team this summer and that is sad to see as the host town was unable to field a squad but this has happened before.
*The Adrian Lookouts are coached by Paul Noce who is one of its assistants. He allowed two of his teams pool games to be played at Hillsdale College on Saturday morning on its baseball field. Noce is the head baseball coach at the HC. The Lookouts split the two games on the big field.
*A thank you goes to the Hudson Girls Softball program for running the snack bar at WCP all four days and nights of the tournament as it really helps add to the tournament atmosphere.
*Also, a special thanks to Peanut a.k.a. Phil Goodlock and his crew, Ed Bellfy and Brad Wilson, for cutting the grass and watering it to keep it looking nice for the tourney.
*Also, a huge thanks to our official tournament sponsors again this summer. CR Motors-Tim Zacharias, Hardy Reed Tool & Die-Bruce and Deb Isenhower, County National Bank-Ron Haber, Borck’s Body Shop-Dan Borck and Darr Real Estate & Insurance-Randy Darr. The awards (trophies and medals) are made by Shirley Knapp at Countryside Trophies and the official tournament T-shirt is produced by Lisa Ridgeway of Ridgewear Sports.
*The 2013 DCM or DCM XIII will be held in Hudson at WCP on July 11-14, 2013! Until then go Tigers both those Detroit Tigers and the Hudson Tigers!