BRISTOL - The Giamatti Little League Center was filled with families and fans Saturday afternoon as Connecticut went up against Maine for the New England Championship Game of the 2017 Little League Eastern Region Tournament.
Connecticut won the title with a 10-0 rout of Maine.
The championship game was held at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center and was the last game in the New England Bracket, which featured the Fairfield American Little League up against the South Portland American Little League. Fairfield now proceeds to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
As the crowd cheered from the stands, Jack Hines, a member of the tournament committee, explained that the championship game attracted more spectators than usual and the center was packed the entire afternoon.
“Everyone is very satisfied and happy that Connecticut is playing in the finals,” he said. “We are very pleased with the turnout and teams.”
While spectators flooded into the center to find their seats or grab a bite to eat from the vendors, former Mayor and City Councilman Bill Stortz explained that he attends the championship games every year and noted that it keeps “growing like crazy” each year.
“It’s really a great tournament,” Stortz said. “It’s also a plus for Bristol and a chance to show off to surrounding towns and people from out of state everything that the city has to offer. I hope the games come back in the future. It shows support for the kids, which the community needs.
“The community will also benefit from the event, because all the people it is drawing in,” he said, explaining that spectators who traveled to the game most likely visited establishments around town when it finished.
Hines said the the game drew a mixed crowd of locals and people from out of state, particularly because the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament was held at the center after the championship game.
In the crowd was Sue Abbonizio, who traveled from New Jersey with her son Anthony Abbonizio, No. 28 for the New Jersey team, who played in the Mid-Atlantic Tournament.
As she waited for her son’s tournament to start, Abbonizio said that she and her family have been staying in Southington for the past week waiting for the game.
“This is our first time in Bristol and we are really enjoying the event and being outside. It’s really fun to watch the boys play,” she said.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at email@example.com or 860-973-5088.