In late July of 2020, I received an email from Chariho Little League’s Chris Charette. Chris has been active in sharing photos and news about not only Chariho Little League, but also SnapDragon Baseball over the past few years. He messaged me about an All Star Weekend Tournament that Chariho Little League was schedule to host in late September, early October of 2020. The Tournament was open to any and all Rhode Island Little League teams and included two divisions – 10U and 12U. Double elimination, guaranteed 3 games played, with the championship rounds to be played at Chariho’s Dow Field – truly it had the look and feel of a state tournament. As many Rhode Island Little League organizations sadly remember, there was no district All-Stars, no RI State Tournament, no Regionals, and…well you were there, I don’t need to rehash all those painful memories. This All Star Weekend Tournament was going to give the players and their coaches, fans, leagues, and families an opportunity to finish the 2020 Rhode Island Little League season on a positive note.
To say that the tournament exceeded expectations is a gross understatement. Word spread throughout Rhode Island Little Leagues, who signed up their 10U and 12U teams for this All Star Weekend Tournament in huge numbers. Leagues from all over Rhode Island pitched in and hosted opening round games. Chris and I stayed in contact to post results and schedules of games and important updates. Fans, socially distant from the players, lined up along outfield fences and in parking lots and anywhere they could find a socially distant area to watch the games. For the weekend championship rounds, Dow Field was dressed and ready for competition and was looking spectacular, thanks to the incredible efforts of Chris and his amazing Chariho Little League volunteers. The games were competitive and fun and engaging and just what Rhode Island Little League baseball needed.
Chris and I still stay in contact through his involvement with Chariho Little League and SnapDragon Baseball. He recently message me about some exciting news for this summer. Here is more from Chris about the “Joe Charette Memorial Tournament.”
“Just a bit of backstory… Last January (2020), my father took ill and ended up in the hospital. When Covid-19 started, he was being admitted to a hospice center in Providence. Covid-19 really meant nothing to him aside from his family could not visit. He wasn’t really watching any news and was sort of out of the loop as to what was happening. When I was finally able to see him again at the hospice center, it hit him that something was really going on when I had told him that ‘there was no baseball this year – Little Leagues had been cancelled, no spring training happening.’ It was then that the plans began for a State Tournament. He was insistent that we had to do something for the kids to play. My father was involved in many capacities with the Chariho Little League for over 20 years. Although Chariho had never hosted a tournament, he was sure we could do it. So as you know, last year with a lot of planning and coordination with multiple other leagues, we successfully hosted a 10U and 12U statewide tournament. Sadly, my father passed away April 19th of 2020. Although he never got to hear how well the tournament went, I know he would have been proud of what our small town league pulled off. With the Chariho Little League board’s blessing, we have decided this will be a yearly tournament and we are calling it the Joe Charette Memorial Tournament.“
So, if you are interested in signing up the Joe Charette Memorial Tournament, you can contact Chris Charette via email at email@example.com. I know from attending last year’s tournament that Chariho Little League does a phenomenal job – from the concession stand, parking lot coordination, getting the fields safe and ready for play, scheduling, game results, pitch counts – and and all other aspects of running a successful tournament. And yes Chris, your father would be very proud of what you and Chariho Little League did accomplish and are accomplishing by making a positive difference in the lives of so many Rhode Island baseball families. You can bet that this Rhode Island Baseball fan will be in attendance for the 2021 Joe Charette Memorial Tournament.
Please share with other league administrators, families, friends, coaches, and players so this tournament can become an annual tradition here in Rhode Island baseball.