Green Mountain State Represented by True All-Stars
On Friday, July 13, the Central Vermont All-Stars traveled to Waterville, Maine for a chance to compete in the New England Regional Tournament.
The team roster included 12-year-old boys from Randolph, Bethel, Tunbridge, Chelsea, Thetford, and Barnard, along with their coaches: River Terami, Joey Ferris, Camdon Bradford, Dempsey McGovern, Tatin Griffin, Jacob Stone, Justin Robinson, Zander Clark, Zach Johnson, Mitchell Parkman, Maddox Salls, Chase Higgins, Wyatt Cadwell, Coaches, Brent Cadwell, Ryan Parkman, and Andy McGovern,
This was a new experience for all included and many were excited to see the turf field, and maybe not so excited about how to play the bounce off the turf, very different than the normal dirt parks back in Vermont. However, if you see any of these CV All-Stars, ask them about their experience; they will each have their own highlights, but they all agree that it was an amazing experience, to meet and play with kids from all over New England, with one goal in mind, playing baseball to the very best of their ability.
The tournament began with a luncheon for all the teams and their coaches. Then it was off to the parade, a parade of states, which was followed by several guest speakers, including Carl Harrison Merrill, also known as Stump Merrill, a Maine native and former manager of the New York Yankees. A dedication and unveiling ceremony of a monument at the field for Stump’s contributions to baseball and the state of Maine followed.
The night continued with a throwing competition, base-running competition, and a home run derby. The Central Vermont All-Stars were within seconds in the first two competitions, with times coming down to tenths of a second in some cases. The home run derby was pretty incredible, with the winner being a young man from Massachusetts who hit seven longball home runs.
After the warm-up competition festivities, the boys retired to the hotel for the evening.
Over the course of the next three days, the CV boys played three baseball games, being consistently reminded of how different the playing field was from Vermont. The local boys were having fun and recognizing that aside from hitting, they were just as strong as the bigger teams from New England. It wasn’t that the CV boys weren’t able to hit the ball, but it was often fielded, whereas the other teams had at least one home run in every game they played, making runs undefendable. The boys also seemed to have first-inning jitters each game. In fact, in a couple of games, if you took the first inning out, CV would have come out on top.
At the start of each game, the names of players and coaches were announced, the baseball code of conduct was read by players from the home team, and there was a ceremonial first pitch by someone that has impacted baseball in the New England or Maine area. The catcher for the home team got to catch and sign the ball for the person throwing the first pitch.
The boys also learned that in 2020, Waterville will host the Cal Ripken World Series, an event that could be an amazing experience for our Green Mountain Boys … and for all baseball fans alike.
The boys enjoyed meeting kids from other teams and got a chance to talk with them at breakfast, swim and watch movies together, and they played a game of blitz ball with the Rhode Island crew at the hotel. The boys also got to know their Vermont teammates better during downtime through a variety of activities like card games, baseball, spike ball, watching the MLB All-Star game and home run derby, and much more.
The CV boys also learned how to play through adversity, both with teammates that suffered injuries prior to Maine and others that got injured while in Maine.
In the tournament game, Vermont played against Rhode Island who went on to be the New England Runners-up. The CV boys played their best game against Rhode Island, and at the end of the fourth were within one run, 6-5 Rhode Island. However, as the game progressed, they weren’t able to string together enough runs in the last two innings to hold off Rhode Island’s home run, which brought in two runs, costing them the 10-5 game.
In the closing ceremony a “player of the game” and home run hitters were recognized for each team. The Rhode Island coach talked briefly about Vermont’s teamwork and how strong a competitor they were. He mentioned he video-taped the injured players to use in his trainings at home, because they participated as much as they could and were embraced by their coaches and teammates as much as the kids playing. He also shared that Vermont, to that point, had come as close as anyone to beating them.
Many of the Central Vermont boys will be able to play Cal Ripken and potentially be All-Stars again next year. Others will be moving on to middle school and Babe Ruth baseball. Either way, they all will carry with them the memories of an incredible Vt. State Championship weekend during some of the hottest weather Vermont has seen this year. Memories like playing on the big stage of Waterville, visiting little Fenway in Oakland, Maine, playing on a turf field, meeting kids from all over New England, and much more. They also may be watching TV someday and see one of the young men they played against playing in the majors. It was truly an experience that generated skills, friendships, life lessons and memories to last a life time.
The boys have expressed a great appreciation and sincere gratitude for their amazing coaches, community and parents that supported them in making this journey and experience a dream come true. Central Vermont and the rest of the Green Mountain state can be very proud of how well they were represented; the boys played hard, had good sportsmanship and a desire to interact and embrace the All-Stars from around New England, displaying the true meaning of being an All-Star.