Tag Archives: tournament

To the Help

This one goes out to the help. The volunteers. The community. The common thread found among a group. Maybe it’s a passion that you didn’t realize you had, but you couldn’t stay away knowing that things needed to be done right.

I know I have said this, maybe too many times, over the last 15 years, but I believe it, it’s all about the kids. So, when we get put to the test to host a baseball tournament at Allard Park, we do so. But we do so with a flair for the perfect. I don’t mean to say we are perfect or do everything exactly right. I will say that we come pretty close on most days. Because there’s a group of us that learned from those who came before us, then we add our creativity and our passion for getting it right.

We set the stage to the best of our abilities. We produce this little show that is the presentation of the game. But there is no agenda, in the political or personal sense, just a respect for the game. And in doing so, I, we, hope that the kids have the experience of a lifetime, playing this great game in such a beautiful setting. I equate it to something like the falling of dominoes. Everyone likes to see some elaborate design set up, only to get the enjoyment of watching the ripple effect and beautiful symmetry of one slab perfectly effecting the next, and so on, as they all fall down. Well we are the group that sets up the design, and stands one domino after the next, just so the teams can come in and enjoy the show, participating as they may. Honestly, that’s how I see it.

I cannot say enough about the folks that make these games and tournaments come together. I am truly humbled by the efforts of so many, who volunteer and work above and beyond the work that is already in their everyday lives, for the kids, for the game. I have been all over this state to more fields than I can remember, and Allard Park in its’ setting, with all the work done to present the game, is as good as it gets. Bar none.

Lamprey River and Somersworth line up during the National Anthem. Babe Ruth (13-15) State Championship. Allard Park, Goffstown, NH. 07192016. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

Lamprey River and Somersworth line up during the National Anthem. Babe Ruth (13-15) State Championship. Allard Park, Goffstown, NH. 07192016. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

I know that running a tournament is a lot of work. It’s tiring. There is always more to do. There are always folks to cater to. Then, we ran two tournaments in a row. Games were played on everyday between July 6th until July 19th, except our one day off, July 13th (an evening that our team practiced). 20 games in 13 days. 20 announcements of players, coaches, umpires, officials, and 20 national anthems. Every pitch, every out, every play, of every inning tracked, and recorded. Prepping the field in blistering heat, or recovering from thunderstorms and downpours. People worked at the gate, sold 50/50 tickets, and helped all over the grounds. Folks worked in the stifling hot concession stand to produce the best ballgame fare anywhere around. We restocked as we went several times. Often times, members of our volunteer crew would be at the field for 8-9 hours in a single day, when two games were played.

One thing I can say is that our kids learned a lot about running a tournament. They helped in every aspect of the production necessary to host a tournament. Even better, they saw their parents working hard to make this about the kids, and to do it right. There’s nothing wrong with the kids seeing ‘pay it forward’ right before their own eyes.

I thank Maurice Allard for his, and the Allard family’s blessing, for us to utilize the facilities and run with them. Dr. Moe was ever-present at games, all games, whether they included the home team or not. And, I would say that he was not only welcomed, but his presence was anxiously anticipated by many.

So, despite the home team being knocked out of the tournament with 3 days, and 5 potential games left to be played in the State tournament, the crew pulled it off. Yesterday, on a Tuesday afternoon, the final game was played. Somehow our volunteers found ways to Allard Park at different intervals, despite all the ‘real life stuff’ found crammed into everyday. Folks just stepped in where help was needed, often times wearing multiple hats in the various roles. The house was full. The concessions were flowing. The field looked incredible. The sky was blue, and big, puffy white clouds gently glided across the blue expanse, being pushed by crisp, dry, clean air coming down from Canada. Pretty near perfect.

Finally, for the newer volunteers, I am not kidding when I say that we (Goffstown Babe Ruth) are known for a quality venue, a quality presentation, and a quality experience for all who enter through our gates. It’s not a coincidence that Allard Park has hosted more tournament games in the last 15 years, than anywhere in the state. It’s not even close. It’s because we have wonderful people, wonderful parents and support groups, who all care about doing it right, for whatever their reason may be. It shows. Trust me, it shows. Remember I wrote about IMPACT recently, well what an impact you all had on the state of Babe Ruth Baseball in the state New Hampshire over there two weeks. Thank you all. You are truly amazing. Simply the best.

The Last Day of the Season

To Coach Hartwell, Coach Dodge, our baseball community, and the parents and families surrounding the players on our team:

As gravity took over and the baseballs’ path fell from the sky and rested finally into the opposing left fielder’s glove, my hopes for a miracle comeback were replaced with the reality that I knew could come. Almost immediately, I found the softer, sentimental side of me taking over and countless thoughts and memories started messing with my mind. I mean, I was still just making my way on to the field to shake hands with our opponents, and my mind was flashing memories of my own personal collection of “The Last Day of the Season”. As we shook hands, and I congratulated the other team and wished them well moving forward, a coach from the other team asked me to make sure that Goffstown, please, put in a bid to host the State Tournament next season. This was a vote of confidence and a compliment to how well our community had run the District Pool Play Tournament over July 8-14 this summer. Then, as I turned away from the end of the line, back towards our dugout, I could feel that choking feeling rise into my throat, and my eyes started to water despite my best efforts to keep such things at bay. Continue reading

NH Avalanche 2000 – Turkey Tournament 2-3

Game 2:

Saturday morning the NH Avalanche 2000 team opened play against the Advantage Ice at Dover Arena. Both teams had earned victories in their first games of the tournament. The Advantage Ice team had beaten Maine Hockey Academy 4-0 the evening before, while the Avs had beaten Seacoast Spartans 4-2. Everyone knew this would be a tough game.

The Avalanche ending up on the short end of a 4-0 score. The Advantage Ice were well schooled and didn’t make many mistakes. They capitalized quickly when the Avs did make a mistake. The Avalanche just couldn’t get things clicking, in part, due to the Advantage team. If the Avs had a player at the front of the net, the puck was out wide. If the puck was sent through the crease or on net, the Avs had players outside of that area. They just could not string anything together during game two.

As the Avs headed in to the final game of the opening round, they needed some help from the Seacoast Spartans just to be in the tiebreaker conversation in order to get to the Championship round.

Game 3:

The final game was played at The Whittemore Center on the campus of UNH, against the team from Maine Hockey Academy. Maine had played the two teams who would end up meeting in the finals, and had not scored a goal in two games. The NH Avalanche 2000 team jumped out to an early lead, getting goals from Max Lajeunesse, Caiden Paradise, and Sydney Herrington. After one period the Avs were helping themselves in the standings and leading 3-0. Assists on the goals came from Michael Perry, Jon Last, and Cody Sullivan.

Did you ever have one of those days when things never really come together but there are glimmers of hope throughout the day that give you a sense that they could come together, only to have it all crash in the end? Well that’s kind of how this finishes. The Avs would not score again, and would end up losing the game 5-3. In the meantime, the Spartans did their best to upset the Boston Advantage, but ended up losing 1-0. The loss left the Avs with a record of 1-2, and out of the playoff round. Boston Advantage would go on to beat Advantage Ice 1-0 in the title game.

NH Avalanche 2000 – Turkey Tournament 1

Friday night the NH Avalanche 2000 team opened play in the Turkey Tournament 2014. The Avs drew a familiar opponent in the Seacoast Spartans. The game was played at the beautiful facility on the campus of The Governor’s Academy. The game started just after 9:30pm and most of us were unsure as to what we would see from the team, playing at such a late hour. I think you will see, we were pleasantly surprised.

The game opened with the Spartans winning the face off, for a second. Then Cody Sullivan stole the puck and pushed it over to Max Lajeunesse. Max skated in and scored a goal by banking a shot off of the side of the goaltender and into the net. A few minutes later, Max created a scoring chance with Sydney Herrington who let a shot fly, beat the goaltender, but saw the puck ring the post and stay out of the net. Then it was Sullivan demonstrating his skills at thievery again when he robbed a defenseman of the puck, walked in, faked forehand, and slid a nice backhand shot past the sprawled goaltender, giving the Avs a 2-0 lead. At the 4:00 mark the Avs were caught in an ill timed line change and gave up an odd man rush. Thankfully for the Avs, Spencer Burgess was there to make a key save and keep the score at 2-0. Two minutes later, one of the Spartans Elite call-downs rang a slapper off of the outside of the far post and the puck caromed innocently to the corner.

The second period saw the Spartans get a goal and cut the lead to 2-1. The Spartans clearly had the upper hand in the middle period but the stanza would end with the Avs still holding on to a 2-1 lead.

With 7:40 left in the third period an Avs defender fell down, and goaltender Spencer Burgess made a huge save on the resulting 2-on-1. Minutes later Sebastian Beal misplayed the puck into his own skates but knowing roughly where his teammate was, he spun, and threw a blind, backhand pass to the middle of the ice right onto Lajeunesse’s stick, in full stride. Max skated in alone and scored giving the Avs a 3-1 lead with just 5:34 to play. The Spartans opened the gates and started taking more chances. With 1:30 left in the game they pulled their goaltender in favor of an extra attacker. The gamble paid off as the Spartans scored with 0:48 left to make the score 3-2. Then, under heavy pressure, the Avs got the puck out of their own end when Cody Sullivan shoveled the puck out of the zone. Max Lajeunesse scooped it up and carried the puck wide and then tickled the empty net twine with just 0:00.6 left on the clock. The Avs won game one, 4-2. Mike Perry, Jon Last, Caiden Paradise, Tyler Whiting, Clay Sanders, and Christian Levesque all contributed to the victory by playing team defense, making good decisions with the puck, and constantly getting pucks deep.