COMMUNITY ADVOCATE – In spite of the stifling heat wave, hundreds of young baseball players and thousands of fans congregated in Marlborough the week of July 19-25 to play in either the Cal Ripken 11-and-under State Tournament or the 12-and-under Regional Tournament. The tournaments, played at the Williams Street Fields, were sponsored by the Marlborough Youth Baseball Association (MYBA).
According to MYBA General Manager Peter Scerra, 16 teams from six states participated in the tournaments. Scerra noted the Regional Tournament is considered “prestigious,” as the winner eventually goes on to the World Series.
The Marlborough team won the 11 U State tournament championship over Littleton, 10-9 and will next play in the Regional Tournament to be held in Warwick, R.I. In the 12 U Regional tournament, Quincy defeated Ararat Maine to advance to the World Series which will be held in Indiana.
But one of the highlights of the week involved players, who although they are not on champion teams, nonetheless play like they were. On July 20, Marlborough and Milford Special Olympians played in an inaugural softball game. The game was organized through a partnership between MYBA and Special Olympics Massachusetts, whose headquarters are located in Marlborough.
The exhibition game was a new addition to the Special Olympians’ calendar since the athletes primarily compete in only two tournaments a year. Before the game began, the national anthem was played, team members were formally announced, and then Mayor Arthur Vigeant threw the first pitch.
“The Special Olympics game was a huge hit,” Scerra said. “MYBA [fans] and other teams’ players cheered the athletes on and seemed to have as much fun as the Special Olympians. Without a doubt, the most fun I’ve ever had on a baseball field.”
The two teams battled back and forth with the Milford Hawks just edging out the Marlborough Redhawks, 10-9.
Scerra’s wife Stephanie and son Kevin are also actively involved in the MYBA and the Special Olympics. Stephanie oversaw the game details, including distributing ribbons and pins to the players, and Kevin assisted with officiating the game.
Pam McNair, head coach for the Redhawks, organized by the Greater Marlborough Program, Inc., shared some insights about her team.
“The athletes have jobs during the week and wait all week to play softball,” she said. “They are a strong team and a great bunch of individuals that love playing the game.”
She added that as each athlete steps up to the plate, they call out a name of a family member who lives in another state, dedicating the hit to that person.
The Marlborough Economic Development Corporation named Scerra as MYBA general manager earlier this year with the hope of bringing more tournaments to the area and to help build sports tourism in Marlborough. As a result, the MYBA fields have been alive with baseball activity this summer. The organization was recently host to the first annual Marlborough Invitational Tournament, which attracted 32 teams from throughout New England and athletes from as far away as Bermuda.
The baseball program is the first step towards the goal of establishing Marlborough as the “Youth Sports Capital of New England,” Scerra said.
“The [baseball] facilities are great and a source of pride for the community,” he added. The complex consists of three manicured baseball diamonds, a concession stand, bullpen, batting cage and ample parking.
“Baseball is my passion with a lot of good fun hours and the camaraderie between the kids make it all worthwhile,” he said.
This story originally appeared here.