In September, the High Desert Bombers 12-and-under baseball team got exciting news.
The team learned it was selected for the Cooperstown All-Star Village 12u week-long summer camp and tournament in August 2020.
The Bombers will play on major league style baseball fields and play against teams from across the country and world, as well as get to experience the history of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
But before the players and coaches get to have all of that fun, they need to raise $20,000 by March 2020. They’re also hoping to raise another $20,000 for the players’ families to come with them on the once in a lifetime experience.
“We’re doing fundraisers, the boys are going to be doing some charity work,” said Bombers 12u manager Nelson Alfaro. “We’re trying to do as much as we can to make it easier for some of the families that are going, so they pay a little less, because it is costly. It costs close to $20,000 to send the team out there and that’s just for the registration and for them to stay there, because they all stay in camp-style bunk houses.”
The Bombers have been having fundraisers at local eateries and will host a tournament Nov. 16-17 in Rosamond with a hit-a-thon, raffles, a bake sale and more to raise more money.
In October, the parents held a poker tournament at Diamond Jim’s Casino and raised more than $5,000. One of the parents, Cheryl Main, took second in the tournament and donated all of her winnings back to the Bombers.
“The parents have really grown together through this whole process,” Alfaro said.
The team has raised nearly $12,000 so far, but still needs the community’s help.
They meet often for fundraising ideas and also are accepting donations through the mail. If you would like to donate, please send donations to: High Desert Bombers baseball-12u Cooperstown, 1806 Amargosa, Palmdale, CA 93551.
Donations of $100 will receive a Bombers pin, while donations of $250-$499 come with a sponsor plaque with the team photo as well as a pin. Donations of $500-$999 receive the above items, as well as an etched blue crystal award. Donations of $1,000-$2,000 will receive a company logo or your name on a team banner, plus the above items, and donations of more than $2,000 will receive all of the listed items as well as a large framed display with hand written notes from all players and a large team photo in the center and a sponsorship plaque to be displayed at High Desert Sports Zone.
Alfaro said he has been coaching many of his 12u players, including his son, Adrian Alfaro, since they were 5 years old.
“These kids put in a lot of work,” Alfaro said. “They basically practice 2-3 times a week, two hours a day, that’s just with the team aside from what they practice on their own. We pretty much practice all year long. We only take about two weeks off a year. So, in the cold, in the heat, we practice all year round, non-stop. So these kids are really committed, this is their thing, you can tell. These types of kids, it’s all on them. It’s really not the parents pushing too much.”
Alfaro said what he loves the most about coaching the Bombers is the fact that every players wants to be there. They want to put in the work and they want to continue to get better.
That’s why he wanted them to get this Cooperstown experience.
“It’s a cool experience,” he said. “Some of these kids have never even been on a plane before let alone be away from everything they know just to play baseball. But it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and it’s only meant for 12-year-olds.”
Alfaro also sees it as a way to show the kids what’s out there, beyond the Antelope Valley, beyond California.
“I just know that living out here in the AV, our resources are less than other cities,” Alfaro said. “Out here, it’s just almost impossible for kids to go (to Cooperstown). A lot of kids that do go who are out here, they have to drive down below to a team either in Santa Clarita or the valley to be able to get that experience. So, I just thought it would be really good.”
The experience is also an accomplishment for the young High Desert Bombers organization, which started in March 2018 with three teams. Colby Estes and Shaun Orr founded the non-profit Bombers and have their teams train at High Desert Sports Zone, which Estes owns.
The High Desert Sports Zone, located at 42247 12th St. West Suite 107 in Lancaster, has pitching machines, soft toss machines, tee’s and areas for pitching practices with pitching mounds. The facility is open to the public but also does scheduled team practices where the full facility is dedicated to a team.
From Spring of last year to now, the Bombers organization has grown to seven squads — 8u, 9u, 10u, 11u (2 teams), 12u and 13u.
“I can’t wait to see what happens a year from now or two years from now, but it’s really blossomed and it’s cool,” Alfaro said. “You’re starting to see so much talent coming out of the Valley.”
By going to Cooperstown next summer, the 12u team is paving the way for future Bombers teams to get this experience. Once your organization attends the summer camp, the next team to apply will automatically qualify.
Alfaro said he is hoping this experience will give the players motivation to keep going in the sport.
“Hopefully this will keep the passion going,” Alfaro said. “And not only that, but also the little brothers and sisters that go, like I have a 9-year-old, so maybe this will pump up his passion for it.”
Alfaro and his son Adrian have seen two of his nephews go to Cooperstown and ever since the first one went, Adrian has had a goal to go when he was 12.
“I enjoy every minute I’m on the field with my friends,” Adrian said in a fundraising packet from the team. “One of my dreams is to be able to go to Cooperstown, New York, next year with my teammates and family. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and has been my goal since I was 8 years old.”
For 11-year-old Mason Jacobo, getting the experience with his teammates is what he’s really looking forward to.
“This is a once in a lifetime experience that dreams are made of,” Mason said. “Being able to go with my team would be amazing and a memory that will last forever.
“Cooperstown is what baseball is all about, family, determination, hard work, fun and above all the love of the game. I don’t care where I play or what position, I just want to play baseball!”
Getting to play against players from around the country and world, is also an experience the players are looking forward to.
“Playing at Cooperstown amongst some of the best players from the country is a dream I hope to achieve,” said Seth Orr, 12. “I know that hard work, faith and determination is going to get me there. I look forward to seeing all of my hard work pay off.”
As part of the experience, the players will also get to take in Yankee Stadium, which will be big for 11-year-old Jason Main, who said he wears No. 99 because he likes the Yankees’ Aaron Judge.
The other players on the team who will join Adrian Alfaro, Mason Jacobo, Seth Orr and Jason Main are: Hector Anaya, Aiden Jett Chabolla, Diego Delgado, Kolby Hand, Ryan Gonzales, Nathan Sanchez and Isaac Virgin, along with a couple of other players.
The players are all from Rosamond, Lancaster and Palmdale.
“We’re just happy to represent the AV, to take 12 kids out to live out their dreams in New York in Cooperstown, where there’s the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Alfaro said. “It’s just awesome seeing how much the community has supported our team and we’re just really looking forward to going out there and making the AV proud.”
Alfaro will be joined by coaches Nick Gonzales and Isaac Chabolla.
For more information on donating to the High Desert Bombers 12u Cooperstown trip, please contact Shaun Orr at 661-733-3569.
Also, look for the team’s fundraising packet with this article at www.avpress.com.