Torrington Junior Little League State Champions get great send off at Tuesday night fundraiser. Play in NJ starting Thursday morning.
TORRINGTON: They just kept coming and coming and coming.
Such was the scene on Tuesday night as the Torrington Junior League State Champions held a fundraiser at the Torrington First Assembly Church for their upcoming trip to New Jersey for what they hope is an extended stay.
The team, which won the State Championship on Friday, July 27 when they beat Annex (New Haven) by a 13-8 final, was shown a ton of home town love from fans of the team and from a community that has gotten hooked on their story.
Come on, it’s every cities or small towns dream to have their team go play on the big diamonds across the country and for head coach Mike Semonich, it’s been a whirl wind four days.
“Since Friday night it’s been crazy,” Semonich said. “It’s been non-stop, it’s been great. The way the community has come out to support us has been awesome.”
The Torrington program, tailored for 13 and14 year old’s, is in just their third year but in that short time span, they made the State Tournament a year ago before this year coming away with a State title this July.
“Our team is made of mostly eighth graders,” Semonich said. “We have a few seventh graders on our team as well. Our strength this year has been pitching and defense.”
The window to get ready for this trip was short.
“Tommorow (today) we leave for New Jersey,” Semonich said. “On Thursday morning at 9 a.m. we start against Delaware. On Thursday night there is a welcome banquet and depending upon how we do on Thursday we’ll find out when our next game is against who.”
The team will be playing for a chance to play in the Junior Little League World Series that is being played in Taylor, Michigan staring on August 21.
This round is being played in Freehold, New Jersey with a familiar format.
“It’s a double-elimination tournament,” Semonich said. “It starts Thursday and goes through Wednesday so it’s possible we could be playing five or six games in six days.”
The team will take 14 kids down to Jersey and needed to have the fundraiser in order to help defer the costs of lodging and meals for a team that posted a perfect 4-0 record on their way to the state tile.
Their efforts, first on Sunday when they raised $536 outside of the Torrington Walmart were boosted in a big way on Tuesday night when they raised an additional $2200 dollars at the pasta dinner, staffed by parents and coaches of the team.
A GoFundMe page has exploded to the tune of $1850 dollars by late Wednesday afternoon with more coming as we speak putting the team over $4500 dollars in just four days.
In the just completed state tournament, Torrington disposed of Cromwell (22-1), Edgewood (4-2), Annex (7-6) and Annex a second time in the final by a 13-8 score.
If they get past Delaware, they would face the state champions from Maryland from the Caroline North Little League on Friday at 4 p.m.
The community, as it is known to do, came out in mass to support the players and our friends from WAPJ even did a remote broadcast with Art Benedict and Larry Wright talking with the players, coaches, organizers and civic leaders who came by to show their support.
League President Linn Baranowitz has a hard-working team working behind the scenes and it’s paid off in a big way as this program, still very young, finds themselves on the doorstep of something pretty remarkable.
Great effort by all, good luck in the Garden State!