- Written by Jennifer Leavitt-Wipf
Our own Bethel was chosen this year, out of hundreds of towns in several states, to host the 9-year-old Cal Ripken Baseball Tournament, a New England regional youth tournament.
Events and games began Fri. Aug. 5 and will continue through Aug. 11.
Friday saw teams checking in at noon, at Mitchell’s Park. A skills challenge began at 2 p.m., including Throw ‘em Out, relay races and a hitting contest.
The welcome banquet kicked off at 5:30 that evening, at Capallero’s Grove, where major leaguers Bobby Valentine (Rangers, Mets), and Matt Barnes (Lakers) made special appearances to encourage the kids. Valentine himself is a Connecticut native, first recruited into college baseball from Rippowam High School in Stamford. Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker also spoke.
Knickerbocker was present again Saturday morning, addressing players and spectators at the opening ceremony, at at 8:15 a.m. on Leonard’s Field. Games 1 – 4 followed.
Today, Sunday, games 5 – 8 will be played.
Monday, games 9 and 10, Tuesday, games 11 and 12, Wednesday, game 13, and Thursday games 14 and 15 will take place.
Bethel’s team performed well on Saturday, according to the News Times. Pitchers Jack Carraturo and Steve Smith, third baseman Andrew Hartman, Brett Anderson, Noah Jensen and Justin Amendola all played key roles in the 13-0 win against Maine, and “each player in Bethel’s starting lineup scored at least one run.”
If the rain stays at bay, in the winner’s bracket, Danbury will be playing Plymouth today at 3 p.m., and Bethel will play Exeter at 5:30 p.m. In the loser’s bracket, Milford will play Cranston at 10 a.m. and Northbridge will play Andy Valley West at 12:30 p.m.
Photos copyright Kristen Jensen 2011