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Young Saddle River, Ho-Ho-Kus Ball Players Eyeing Cooperstown

The HHK/SR Indians are raising money to go to Cooperstown.
The HHK/SR Indians are raising money to go to Cooperstown. Photo Credit: Winnie O'Keefe
Sam Koenig with father and coach Zachary Koenig, of Ho-Ho-Kus.
Sam Koenig with father and coach Zachary Koenig, of Ho-Ho-Kus. Photo Credit: Dana Koenig

HO-HO-KUS, N.J. — A team of young Ho-Ho-Kus and Saddle River baseball players' longtime dream of heading to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown depends on whether they'll be able to raise a whopping $16,000 collectively.

The 12 athletes on the Indians U12 travel team — some who've been friends since preschool — are tapping into both local businesses and family members across the country to help them collect the funds they'll need to compete in Cooperstown Dream Park's annual tournament.

Working toward a goal isn't a new concept for The Indians , said Dana Koenig, whose son, Sam, is a catcher.

"The coach entered them into a travel team way earlier than most teams," the Ho-Ho-Kus resident said. "Of course that first year we were horrible — we got creamed every game."

Still, the boys "went out with their tails wagging," eager to hone the skills that one day might take them to the big leagues, she said.

The Indians last spring won the Bergen County Memorial Day Invitational Tournament, finishing the season 15-0.

"Our kids have been conditioned since they were 8 that they'd be going to Cooperstown when they're 12," said player Teddy O'Keefe's mom, Winnie O'Keefe. "Four years later, here we are raising money."

All of the boys have created GoFundMe accounts and are holding as many fundraisers as they can, including a Halloween party on Oct. 31.

Helping her son raise money has reunited O'Keefe with relatives who she says are happy to be involved.

"We've never been to Disney World," O'Keefe said. "But I would say this is better than that."

Email winnieao@verizon.net to donate.

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