The New Milford Express baseball team has etched itself a legacy of success likely unmatched in the annals of New Milford youth baseball.

The 12-year-old travel baseball squad, representing New Milford Youth Baseball/Softball on this summer's diamond circuit, closed the book recently on another memorable campaign.

Coach Dan Olson's team highlighted its six-week run by earning runnerup laurels in both the state and New England regional Cal Ripken tournaments. Those efforts echoed a New England title the boys had won as 9-year-olds and various successes they'd delivered the past two years.

In eight-team competition last month in Nashau, N.H. the Express outplayed New Hampshire champion Seacoast, 5-2, eastern Massachusetts champ Kingston, 13-9, Kingston, Mass., 3-2, and Connecticut champ Norwalk, 7-5, before bowing in the title game to Norwalk, 5-2.

At stake in the finale was a berth in the Cal Ripken national tournament in Aberdeen, Md.

"We got great play from everyone," reported coach Olson. "Everyone should be so proud of what was accomplished here. To be one win from the Cal Ripken World Series is just indescribable."

The 12-year-olds' remarkable summer helped further elevate the reputation of a New Milford youth baseball program that also claimed New England titles, courtesy of the 11-year old Renegades and the 9-year-old Thunder.

Neither of those teams, however, had the opportunity to go to a national tournament.

"For these boys to be this close to going to the Cal Ripken World Series," opined Express coach Olson, "is quite an accomplishment. Conversely, the heartbreak of coming so close in the final game is tough."

Coach Olson nevertheless sees a bright future for his squad and New Milford baseball.

"Our boys are very resilient and we believe this experience will accelerate their growth as athletes and competitors," he explained. "There are some great things coming for these boys... New Milford's baseball future is in very good hands."

The Express was comprised this summer of Michael Dolcimascolo, Cooper Knight, Danny Gonzalez, Dallas Kelly, Connor Gallagher, Kyle Lindner, Billy Butler, Tim Rehm, Jackson Olson, Vinnie Pallisco, Matt Delafield, Tim Whitlow.

Coaching the team were Dan Olson, Steve Whitlow, Sonny Shaw and Sean Gallagher.