Babe Ruth League Baseball attendance figures up from last year
MANCHESTER — Compared to last year, attendance figures are ahead of pace in this year’s ages 13-15 Babe Ruth League Baseball New England Regional at Gill Stadium in Manchester.
“By the end of the third day this week we had surpassed last summer’s attendance mark in the 13-year-old regional,” said Manchester Babe Ruth League director Gary Ulbin. “I know last year we didn’t reach the thousand figure at all. I don’t have the numbers, but this year we’re going to exceed a thousand by a large margin.”
Ulbin said the 13-15 age level tends to draw a bigger crowd.
“I’m not knocking the 13-year-old level, but the 13-15-year-old level is a better brand of baseball,” said Ulbin. “These are kids who are already playing high school baseball, be it on the varsity or junior varsity level.”
It costs $3,000 to host a regional tournament and Ulbin said he’s gaining most of that money back from the concession stand along the first base line at Gill Stadium.
“I have to thank Goldenrod Restaurant and all the volunteers working our concession stand,” said Ulbin. “We’re generating money through the concession stand and our 50/50 raffles during each game.”
Ulbin said there’s one more reason why this regional is better than last year.
“Manchester is still playing, still alive,” he said. “Remember last year our 13-year-old team was eliminated after the second game. After that, attendance dropped off and we didn’t make much money at the concession stand. Having our team playing is a major factor on how well we generate money to help defray the cost of the entire tournament.”
Waterford, Conn. advanced to the championship finals with a 7-3 victory against Bennington, Vt. Wednesday. The game was suspended Tuesday after lightning delayed the game twice.
The game resumed with Waterford leading 5-1 in the top of the fourth inning. Bennington loaded the bases in the home fourth with no outs, but came away with only one run when Bryce Bush plated Noah Normyle with a sacrifice fly.
Waterford got the run back in the fifth inning when Bennington pitcher Griff Stalcup was called for a balk. With runners on the corners, he faked to third and then to first, which is a balk.
Bennington produced a run after two outs in the home fifth. Stalcup walked, stole second and rumbled home when Normyle reached on an two-base infield error.
Waterford tacked on a seventh inning run when Justin Keating’s infield hit with the bases loaded and two outs tallied Mike Rocchetti, who led off the inning with a double.
The Vermont champs turned out to be their own worst enemy. They committed four errors and on offense, Bennington stranded nine runners including two on third base.
Bennington returned to the diamond to face Manchester in the losers’ bracket finals Wednesday night. Bennington beat Manchester 6-3 Sunday for the right to play Waterford and needs to beat the host team again to get another meeting with the Connecticut state champs in the finals today at 5 p.m.