Glastonbury Little League Opening Night a home run!
A visit to Ross Field in Glastonbury can only mean one thing; that of yearning to watch a little league baseball game. After all, this beloved field in town has been home to hundreds of little league games since it was dedicated in 1992. Now, twenty years later, it has seen little leaguers come and go, but one person has stuck around for the entire time. Don Longtin, the long-time president of Glastonbury Little League, has been involved for more than 40 years, and has served as president for 30 of those years. Wow, that is quite spectacular in and of itself. But, what really stands out in Glastonbury is the caliber of little league baseball players the town turns out year after year. After all, not many towns make it to the state and regional finals, but Glastonbury has done it several times. When you visit Ross Field on opening night, you can't help but notice all of the incredible volunteers and how they pour their heart and soul into Glastonbury's little league program. Positive energy abounds everywhere! When I arrived for this special event, Don himself was testing the PA system up in the announcer's booth while coach Mike Rosadino was helping to install a webcam on the fence behind the batter's mound.
As all of the major league teams assembled for the opening ceremonies, Rocky the Rock Cat made a special appearance, bringing a grin to all of the kids' faces as Rocky took plenty of time to visit with the boys and tease them a bit. But, it was all in good fun as evidenced by the huge smiles on their faces. After all, this was not just any opening ceremony, but that of Glastonbury's 48th season as a little league program. With 93 teams and close to 1,200 players and 320 coaches, the statistics alone are impressive. Add to that 120 sponsors and 18 fields, Glastonbury is ready to play ball! When Ross Field opened on May 2, 1992, dirt from every major league park (to include Cooperstown and Williamsport) was gathered and scattered on the field. As a special ceremony this year, Carrier-Ripley player Danny Evans continued the tradition by adding his own dirt. Now, this was not just any dirt, but dirt sent up from Miami, Florida where Erik Ericson, a graduate of Glastonbury Little League and now a starting pitcher for the University of Miami, had gathered this dirt from the Miami Marlin's new stadium in Florida. What a special honor for Danny to be asked to continue this tradition right here in beautiful Glastonbury.
The festivities continued as the 2011 American League 12-year-old All-Star team strolled out onto the field in their bright new, red jackets and unveiled their championship pennant in right center field. Congrats, boys, on a job well done! Glastonbury is so proud of you! After all of the majors teams were introduced, a special treat awaited the crowd, which was the playing of the national anthem by Max Tamaiulo, one of Glastonbury's own little leaguers. Too bad, Hollywood, cause he's all ours and we're not letting him go! And, if that's not enough action for a splendid opening ceremony, Ben LaPlante, one of the players on the 2011 All-Star team came to the pitcher's mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to his father. Talk about nostalgic!
And.....then it was time to play ball, and boy did the boys from Carrier-Ripley and Monaco & Sons do just that. A sensational game followed the opening ceremonies with some great highlights, among them Carrier-Ripley player Emiliano Ruiz making an incredible slide into third base and Monaco's Connor Emery making a surprise catch that would have impressed Erik Ericson down in Miami. I was standing by Connor's father when this hot shot athlete made the catch and we were both glowing from ear to ear. After all, not everyone gets to see a ten-year-old youngster with such joy spread across his face every day. Ah, little league baseball does a boy good! Standouts on the mound included Sam Haddad and Colin Rosadino for Carrier-Ripley as well as Bennett Cole and Mitch Powers for Monaco & Sons. If hits are the name of your game, then Tyrese Haughton had a double and triple, Cole Bennett three hits, and Mitch Powers and Matt Tenney two apiece. Solid fielding was performed by many players on both teams, but standing out was Garrett Frick who threw a ball from center field to get one of the good old boys from Monaco & Sons out. And, for the big homerun, then check out Trevor Hutchinson who scored two runs on the board for Monaco & Sons. The game wrapped up with a score of 18-5 and was taken by Monaco & Sons. But this fantastic game was just a hint of the fun that is forthcoming this season in Glastonbury when it comes to little league baseball and softball. Play ball, boys and girls, and remember to have fun every single day while you're doing it!