PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - While so many families in the area have certainly missed their sporting weekends of kids sport during the pandemic, hope springs eternal for those who struck out last season.
If you build it, they will come to build towards a championship in an old shipyard. The West Portland Baseball Club is ready to set sail this summer at Cooperstown after the winter nights of grinding away in the cages on the South Waterfront at Zidell Yards.
"I have been practicing here since this fall, so I am still kind of like amazed. It’s very cool," said catcher Jimmy Tilles, 11.
The middle school buddies are staying safe and crisp by the Willamette River.
"They used to build ships in here for World War II, I think," 12-year-old Hank Whitworth, a first baseman, said.
History making and hoping to make some diamond magic with the Lincoln Youth Select Crew.
"It’s awesome getting the opportunity during COVID, not many teams get to do it," third baseman Lucas Marr, 11, said.
"We don’t see our friends at school or anything so it’s great to see my friends here," said Grady Wilmot, 12-year-old centerfielder.
The bats crack and the gloves pop with West Portland on their chests and crowns.
"It means to represent the great city of Portland and even Oregon," Tilles said.
The Rose City boys have an impending voyage back east to the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame Tournament in Cooperstown, New York.
"None of us have been out of the state to play baseball and this would be the first time," said 12-year-old Quinn Alexander, a third baseman.
"I have heard from some of my friends that this is supposed to be the best experience of your life," third baseman Griffin Nichols, 12, said.
Last playing together briefly in the fall, the focus is supremely on drilling in their small ball approach for the hometown nine to be successful in the home of baseball immortality.
"To be in the presence of all of these legends there, it’s crazy. The greatest baseball players ever," Whitworth said. "They are just, they are right there."
"It's obviously where the Hall of Fame is, and I think it would be a really cool place to play, even if we don’t go all the way, which we hope to do but it will still be a really cool experience," said 12-year-old Henry Vanderhoof, who plays shortstop.
While fundraising for the big trip, the kids will be giving back to their home field by beautifying Wallace Park next weekend.
"Just help cleaning up the neighborhood, making it more safe and clean for other people out there," said 11-year-old second baseman Ronan Flinchpaugh.
What best describes the team?
"We are very humorous but when the game comes, we are usually pretty focused, and we are very competitive," pitcher Charley Chipps said.