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Host 8U Hawks Battle Into Semifinal Round Of Babe Ruth Regional Tournament



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Newtown Babe Ruth Baseball hosted the 8U New England Regional Tournament in the last week of July. Eight teams from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine participated for a chance to win the New England title and advance to the World Series. Newtown’s district team was led by manager George Conklin and coaches Chris Evans and Gregg Leonard. The team members included Christopher Evans, Mason Leonard, Austin Luczak, Jacob Christos, Jackson Christos, Quinn Garvin, Felipe Costa, Kolby Conklin, Christopher Fairbairn, Ben Tyler, Anthony Ripley, and Mason Cote.

Pool play started with four teams in either the National or American bracket. Newtown started off hot playing against New Hampshire’s state champions and won 6-3. Luczak went an impressive four innings on the mound and Kolby Conklin pitched the final two innings to secure the win. Leonard, Jacob Christos, Costa, Jackson Christos, Fairbairn, and Cote all contributed with hits. Evans was solid behind the plate picking off two New Hampshire base runners.

The Hawks faced Freetown/Lakeville of Massachusetts in game two and came out with a 12-8 win. Costa doubled to bring in two runs in the third inning. Fairbairn, Tyler, Ripley, Evans, and Leonard all drove in runs in a five-run second inning. Costa and Tyler each managed multiple hits. Shortstop Luczak turned an impressive double play to end the second inning. Leonard, Fairbairn, Kolby Conklin, and Luczak all contributed on the mound.

In game three, the Hawks faced Stamford and were defeated 10-0. However, the Hawks secured a second-place finish at the end of pool play advancing them to the next round with only six teams remaining.

Newtown faced the Auburn, Maine state champions in their first bracket game and won 10-5. Luczak and Kolby Conklin took the mound for three innings each. Bats were hot with hits by Evans, Luczak, Garvin, Costa, Jacob Christos, and Cote with a triple that brought in three runs. Defense was also impressive as Leonard turned a triple play with the help of shortstop Luczak. This win secured a spot in the semifinals.

In their fifth and final game, the Hawks faced off against the Connecticut state champions from New Canaan. Newtown came out strong and took an early 3-0 lead before dropping a hard-fought 7-6 nail-biter. The boys battled and maintained a tie throughout most of the six innings. Jackson Christos got it started in the first inning with a single to bring in a run. Ripley had a great diving catch in the outfield that kept New Canaan from scoring additional runs during a New Canaan rally. Fairbairn toed the rubber for Newtown with Luczak and Leonard coming in from the bullpen to throw two innings each. Garvin and Fairbairn each racked up multiple hits. Evans, Leonard, Luczak, Jackson Christos, Costa, Kolby Christos, and Cote all contributed with hits to keep Newtown in it until the end. Spirits were high as the Hawks played their hearts out and were proud to make it all the way to the semifinals. New Canaan went on to play Chelmsford of Massachusetts in the finals and lost 7-3.

Members of the 8U Hawks who reached the New England Regional tourney semifinals are, from left, front: Felipe Costa, Jackson Christos, Jacob Christos, Mason Leonard, and Christopher Evans; middle: Anthony Ripley, Mason Cote, Quinn Garvin, Kolby Conklin, Austin Luczak, and Christopher Fairbairn; and back: Coaches George Conklin, Chris Evans, and Gregg Leonard. —photo courtesy Dana Leonard
Austin Luczak delivers a pitch during tournament action. —photo courtesy Michele Luczak
Mason Leonard gets set to steal third base against Stamford. —photo courtesy Janet Kuzma
Chris Fairbairn throws a pitch. —photo courtesy Janet Kuzma
Batter Ben Tyler gets tips from Coach George Conklin as teammates Felipe Costa, Mason Cote, Austin Luczak, and Jackson Conklin look on. —photo courtesy Janet Kuzma
Anthony Ripley takes a swing as coach Gregg Leonard watches from the dugout. —photo courtesy Janet Kuzma
Ben Tyler puts his bat on the ball. —photo courtesy Janet Kuzma
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