The Newtown 15U baseball team, which was runner up in the state championship, hosted the Babe Ruth New England Regional Tournament at Fairfield Hills in August. The other teams competing were Keene, NH, Braintree Mass, Central Maine, Pittsfield, Mass, Bennington, VT, Norwalk, and Cranston, RI. After meeting and greeting the teams at a welcome dinner held at Reed School in which the teams were provided with words of wisdom from UConn baseball coach Jim Penders, the tournament commenced in spirited fashion on Saturday, August 3 with all eight teams in action. First Selectman Pat Llorda and Morgan Melillo threw out the first pitch to Sam Czel prior to Newtown’s first game.
In its opening game, Newtown played eventual champion Cranston, Rhode Island. In the first inning, with two on and two outs, David Matthews roped a double into the left-center field gap, staking Newtown to an early 2-0 lead. Cranston came right back and scored three in the second inning. Matthews came up to the plate in the third inning with runners on second and third and two outsand blasted a three-run homer estimated to have traveled 400 feet over the right-center field fence. A see-saw battle ensued over the next several innings. Michael Parker had three hits and Jared Brady and Czel scored two runs. Alex Klang made two nice catches in right field. Newtown came up just short, falling 11-8.
Facing Bennington, Vermont in game two, as it had all season, Newtown displayed fortitude and prevailed in extra innings 5-4 with a walk-off single by Matthews to score Czel. Stephen Brittin and Tim Vander Have pitched brilliantly, striking out ten batters. Austin Martinez led off the game with a single, promptly stole second and third and scored on a ground out.
Mason Melillo had two big runs batted in, and Michael Doyle had a hit and scored a run.
Having no luck in the bracket draw, Newtown was matched against eventual second place finisher, Braintree, Mass. Newtown was eliminated from the tournament, losing 12-2. Chris Calo had a hit and scored a run. Luke Rustici had a hit, and Matt Elias had an RBI.
The team thanks the Newtown community and all of the volunteers and sponsors for all of the support shown throughout the tournament. More than $1,000 was raised during the games for the Jimmy Fund to fight cancer. All of the teams, from the players, coaches and parents, who traveled to Newtown for the tournament, had nothing but positive comments and feedback about what a great town Newtown is, Newtown coaches reported.