Vipers Give Trophy to Team from Canada

Ajax Spartans bring home trophy from Cooperstown

Minor peewee baseball team receives unexpected gift from California champions

Ajax Spartans

Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland

AJAX -- The Ajax Spartans Minor Peewee rep baseball team, with a trophy they received in Coopertown N.Y. The team finished last, but were presented with the trophy by the winning team, because of their great sportsmanship. July 9, 2014

This is not a typical in-your-face story, hailing the small-town Canadian baseball team for defeating the big-bad Americans at their own game, in the birthplace of that sport no less.

Rather, it’s a story of restored faith in sportsmanship and class.

Plenty of both qualities were on display from the Ajax Spartans minor peewee rep baseball team, a middle-of-the-pack local team that made its way to the Cooperstown All Star Village recently to compete in a week-long 12U tournament featuring dozens of top-notch teams from south of the border.

The young players had the time of their lives, revelling in the history of Cooperstown and making new friends through pin-trading and other activities they shared in the common bunkhouse.

And, against all odds, the Spartans did indeed manage to bring home the championship trophy, which stands taller than some of the players. Being the first time a team from these parts has brought home the big prize from a Cooperstown tournament, which are held continuously throughout the summer, this will and should be a source of pride for years to come.

The Spartans were not the only champions, however. The fact of the matter is the Ajax team failed to win a single game, but in losing, did so with enough grace to catch the eye of the American competition.

So it was that when the Spartans were done with the closing ceremonies and had spent the rest of their U.S. money in the arcade, they returned to the bunkhouse to find the trophy standing tall with a note nearby.

It was addressed to the Ajax Spartans and read: “Congratulations. Hope you guys enjoyed yourselves. Please accept this trophy from us in recognition for all of your efforts. Class act. Best of luck.”

The note was signed by the VSA Vipers, the winning team from California that is ranked sixth in the U.S. for that age group.

“To see two big, grown men crying, it tells you something right there,” said manager Sacha Mandarich, referring to himself and head coach Steve Jones. “It was very touching, and we were very surprised.”


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