Stafford Little League Opening Day offers fun and fanfare for all!
A beautiful sunny day greeted baseball fans of all ages in Stafford on Saturday, April 14 when the town celebrated its annual little league opening ceremonies. Nearly 1,500 residents crammed into Kealy Complex for the introduction of teams which included the awarding of several trophies. Among them were the 2011 Pirates, the Majors team which proudly took the championship. Each player on the team received commemorative jackets as mementos, and despite the record warmth on this day, the players wore those jackets all afternoon just to strut their stuff………and rightly so! Also recognized were the Marlins and White Sox, who took the 2011 AA and AAA championships, respectively. On hand for the Marlins awards was State Senator Tony Guglielmo, always a favorite fan among many local little league events. The fun didn’t end there, however, as the ritual first pitch was thrown out and then the national anthem was played for all to show respect for our great country. Ah, what a splendid day to be in Stafford!
After the opening ceremonies concluded, several games took place for all age groups, to include a game between the AAA Braves and Cardinals. Coached by Ed Teeter and Tony Deane, these two teams represent everything that is synonymous with good old-fashioned little league baseball. Since there were several Chevy’s in the parking lot, the only thing missing was Grandma’s apple pie. But, I never did check the food shack for it, so perhaps it was there after all. However…getting back to the Braves and Cardinals, there was plenty of supportive coaching for all players in the game. If anyone wants to know how a little league coach should act around kids, just watch Tony Deane for ten minutes. This wonderfully friendly man offers high-fives, pats on the back, and plenty of morale-boosting comments to his players that kept them smiling and energized throughout the entire game. And the same could be said of the coaching staff of the Cardinals! The dedication and passion displayed by the coaches on these two teams is proof for all that there really are some amazing men and women in our world who strongly believe in the potential that can be tapped among 9 and 10-year-old children who have so much to offer. My hat goes off to Ed and Tony for not only being commendable coaches in the game of baseball, but also tremendously positive role models for the youth of Stafford!
If more action is the name of your game, then just a stroll down the hill to the next field offered a Majors game between the Athletics and Red Sox. Coached by Kevin Slater and Mike Lawson (as well as a slew of assistant coaches who deserve credit as well), these two teams really provided a very exciting, and at times, nail biting, little league baseball game. If anyone from Fenway Park is reading this, be sure to check out Ian Spellman’s stats. As the starting pitcher for the Stafford Red Sox, this dynamic athlete pitched a no-hitter for four innings…..yes, count them, FOUR! Wow, look out, Jon Lester! To keep the competition red hot, the A’s Kyle Hammond pitched two innings of shut-out ball to keep the score close. Then came Colton Engel! Wow, this incredible 11-year-old made the defensive play of the game by hitting a solid drive down the middle with runners on second and third which surely prevented the Red Sox from scoring any further runs. And…….the picture-perfect play made by the A’s was a smashing home run hit by Evan Guzzo which gave him one of those awesome crowd-cheering moments to include plenty of high fives, slaps on the back, and roaring applause which will surely live out in his mind for weeks to come! But…..despite all of the great plays made by the A’s, the Red Sox took the game in the end with a score of 8-4, providing the spectators of Stafford with yet another awesome little league baseball game. It’s moments like these which make a sports photographer like me absolutely love my job! Congratulations to all of the coaches and players involved in the Stafford Little League, and may the 2012 season bring you lots of smiles, laughs, and good old-fashioned baseball fun! Oh, and if anyone would like to see the complete library of photos taken on this amazing day, please visit the following link: http://ajgphotoguy.smugmug.com/YouthBaseball/2012-Events. Play ball!