Bristol, CT is located just off Route 84 about 20 miles past the capital city of Hartford. From Rhode Island, it is fairly easy to get to – some back roads, a few major highways, then town roads and about 2 hours of driving. Bristol is a great place to visit if you like clocks (the American Clock and Alarm Museum is there) or theme parks (Lake Compounce also in Bristol) or sports of any kind (also home to ESPN). And Bristol is also the home of the Little League® East Region headquarters and is the host city for the New England Regional Tournament to decide who represents New England at the Little League® World Series in Willamsport, PA.
The opening round of games started Sunday, August 5th with Rhode Island’s Coventry Little League facing Fairfield, CT. Being a RI baseball fan, I decided to take the drive with my sons to support Coventry on their #roadtowilliamsport, the common theme and driving force for every Little League® 12U division team worldwide. Get through the district tournament, then the state tournament, then win your regional tournament for a chance to represent New England or the Southwest or the Midwest in the most famous tournament in all of baseball – the Little League® World Series. A pretty special baseball experience for the players, coaches, families, communities, and fans of Little League®.
Cars had lined up for about 1/4 mile in every direction on the side streets adjacent to the stadium. My sons and I commented on the license plates being from all 6 New England States and we called them out after passing each one – “RI, MA, VT, RI, RI, CT, CT” and so on.
I could feel the positive energy from the moment I walked onto the grounds of Leon J. Breen Memorial Field. Huge, colorful banners lined the bleachers, concession area, and all over the fences. There was plenty of friendly staff assisting guests, on golf carts, walking around answering questions, and being available to the families. There was ample seating in the bleachers, which spanned from the right to left field sides. Concession stands and local vendor stands were set up for refreshments. And, there was a huge gathering in the outfield grass just beyond the fenced in ball field.
Enthusiastic spectators from RI and CT cheered on their All-Stars from first pitch to the last. The families, both dressed in red, came in huge numbers to support their players, coaches, leagues, and states. Signs with the player’s names and numbers were lifted up every time a big hit occurred or a strikeout to end an inning.
The game was quick – 4 innings. Coventry came out with another impressive win beating Fairfield, CT 10-0. It was Coventry’s latest win in a long string of district, state, and now New England Little League® games. When the team finished their post game meeting in right field, they were greeted with a loud ovation from their families just outside the first base bleacher section. Parents hugged their sons, brothers high fived their brothers, a zillion pictures were snapped, and smiles all around as Coventry Little League takes another step on their #roadtowilliamsport.
This was an amazing Rhode Island Baseball Experience for me and my sons. We thoroughly enjoyed the stadium, meeting some of the player’s parents, watching the game, and just being a part of something really special for RI baseball. Continued success to the Coventry Little League All Stars, their coaches, families, and baseball community. Your Rhode Island Baseball community is behind you!!!