By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
---- — Baseball is back where it originated with another season of Cooperstown Hawkeye hitters and fielders defending their home turf at historic Doubleday Field.
Hawkeye owner and president, Tom Hickey, said it will be a fun season of baseball.
“We have a lot of good players on the roster this year,” Hickey said. “I believe we will do very well in the league.”
In addition to a dynamic team, Hickey said there are several surprises in store this year.
“We will debut our new mascot, Harry the Hawk, he will be handing out candy and meeting with the kids,” Hickey said. “I really want to bring it back to the kids, back to the families. This is what baseball is about.”
Opening day for the Cooperstown Hawkeyes is June 5. All home games start at 5 p.m.
On June 7, there will be a special school day at Doubleday Field. School children from several districts have been invited to watch a game, meet the players and learn a little bit of baseball history.
“We have some people from the Hall of Fame coming over to talk about the history of baseball and the history of Doubleday Field,” Hickey said.
Another addition this season is a new coach with a division title under his belt.
Dan Shwam, a 20-year veteran in the industry, won league coach of the year honors in 2007 for a record 27 straight wins and a Western Division championship.
“I am excited to come to Cooperstown; it is baseball,” Shwam said. “I always thought it would be so nice to play on Doubleday Field, and here I am. It is a wonderful experience to play on that historic field.”
Shwam said he has a good team of players, many with impressive records.
Cameron Day, of Virginia Beach, Va., is a player to watch, he said. As a junior outfielder for Norfolk State University, Day moved from designated hitter to starting right fielder and led his team in extra base hits.
“He had a phenomenal spring,” Shwam said. “He started a little slow, but he came on strong.”
Another Hawkeye with a record to beat is Eann Cox, of Erie Ill., who pitched a strong 2013 season and, as a sophomore, led Black Hawk College in RBIs. Cox pitched and played first base in 51 games. His batting average was the second highest on the team.
“He is a strong two-way player,” Shwam said. “He can play first or pitch and he is fantastic on offense.”
Luke Mould, of Athens Ala., is another strong pitcher for the Hawkeyes, according to the coach. The sophomore pitched 16 games for the University of Alabama.
“We have three great players from Alabama,” Shwam said. “All three had a great year.”
The Cooperstown Hawkeyes played their first season on Doubleday Field in 2010 and moved to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League the next year.
Players are recruited from around the country and Canada. They are hosted in and around Cooperstown for the summer season.
“These kids may be up and coming professional players,” Shwam said. “Some of them go pro. They are all serious about the sport.”
The first recorded baseball game played on Doubleday Field was on Sept. 6, 1920 between Cooperstown and a team called the Cuban Giants. The game was part of a street fair celebration sponsored by the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce. Cooperstown won the game 9-8.