Ravens to play for national 14U title
5-2 win on Wednesday puts AAU team in finals
The New England Ravens 14 and under baseball team will take the field today with a chance to bring home the AAU national championship.
After a 5-2 win over the 3H Spartans out of Orlando in the Gold Division semifinals on Wednesday, the Ravens, who are the top seed, will play the No. 2 Forest Flames out of Virginia at 8 a.m.
“It’s unbelievable. We’re going to the national championship game,” said coach Jim Coppo after Wednesday’s victory. “This little team from New Hampshire is playing for a national championship.”
The Ravens jumped out to a 4-0 lead early and got out of a big jam in the fifth when the Spartans scored both of their runs.
Sam Cooper tossed a complete game with 10 strikeouts to put his team in the title game.
“This is pretty special,” said Coppo. “It’s surreal. At worst, we’re going to be national runner-up.”
The Ravens had a first round bye after going 2-0 in Gold Division Pool Play and were the favorites entering the single elimination tournament. And following the Spartans 21-10 win over the Western Massachusetts Storm in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday morning, the Ravens were ready to take down the Spartans for a second time in three days for the right to play for a national title.
Now they need just one more win to achieve their ultimate goal.
“They’ve done something that no other team from New Hampshire has ever done,” said Coppo.
The Ravens earned the No. 1 seed in the 14U Gold Division after winning the tiebreaker with the Flames, who were also 2-0 in pool play, by allowing just eight runs compared to 12 for the Flames.
The Ravens defeated the Central Florida Impact 7-2 and the Spartans 8-6 in Monday’s pool play action to grab the top spot in Pool EE.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Ravens were 1-3 in Pool B play to determine which teams advanced to the Diamond Division and who made the Gold Division. After an 11-9 win over the Western Massachusetts Storm, the Ravens dropped three straight games to the Connecticut Wolfpack, Miami Sun and the Puerto Rico Cobras. The Sun and Cobras were the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the Diamond Division bracket, while the Wolfpack were fifth.
Prior to the AAU Nationals, the Ravens owned a 45-5 record overall, which included a win in the inaugural Ravens Bash Invitational in June.
After last year’s success as a 13U team, the Ravens received an invitation to nationals.