Cajon de Oro Little League sweeps District 41 Tournament of Champions

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Like the classic boyhood stories of baseball underdogs becoming victors, the Cajon De Oro (CDO) Little League’s very own Dodgers team rose from obscurity to take the District 41 Tournament of Champions (TOC) President’s Cup.

Majors Dodgers manager and coach TJ Flannery said his team had a surprisingly good season.

Like the classic boyhood stories of baseball underdogs becoming victors, the Cajon De Oro (CDO) Little League’s very own Dodgers team rose from obscurity to take the District 41 Tournament of Champions (TOC) President’s Cup.

Majors Dodgers manager and coach TJ Flannery said his team had a surprisingly good season.

“We were kind of the dark horse at the beginning of the season,” he said. “We had probably the best pitcher in District 41 by the end of the season, who had only played three years of baseball prior. We were underdogs, but really gelled as a team.”

District 41 covers East County’s 16 leagues, of which CDO is one. The Dodgers, coached also by John West and Jason Ledford, ended the season with a 14-4 record and went undefeated in TOC to claim the championship with a 54-10 margin. 

“We really played as a unit this year,” said Flannery. “That’s why we were so successful.”

Flannery has been coaching Little League for five years and said he finds it very rewarding.

“I think the most important thing that I’ve learned over the years that I’ve coached is that if the kids aren’t having fun, if they don’t feel supported, they aren’t going to play at their best,” he said. “I think I and our coaching staff did a really good job trying to never be negative, trying to reaffirm best practices.” 

Positivity, Flannery said, made all the difference in shaping the success of the team.

“That was kind of a key recipe for us this year,” he said. “Just trying to make sure we were being positive and that we were encouraging the right behavior rather than discouraging bad behavior. It’s a subtle difference but it was impactful.”

CDO just opened a T-ball field off Russell Road in partnership with the Fuerte Recreation Club. Around since the ‘50s, CDO has been a central part of the baseball community in this corner of East County.

Cory Thiem, a board member of CDO, said the extra facility would give the league room to continue growing. 

“It’s designed to get the kids involved at a younger level,” he said.

The league’s closing ceremonies in early June, shortly before the TOC games, brought out most of the league’s competitors, from their newest gloves to their oldest majors players, with friends, family and next year’s excited hopefuls in tow.

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