BRISTOL - The Giamatti Little League Center was filled with families and fans Saturday afternoon as Connecticut battled Maine in the New England final of the 2017 Little League Eastern Region Tournament.
Connecticut won 10-0.
The championship game was held at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center and was the last game in the New England bracket, matching the Fairfield American Little League up against the South Portland American Little League. Fairfield now goes to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Jack Hines, a member of the tournament committee, said the championship game attracted more spectators than usual and the center was packed the entire afternoon.
“Everyone is very satisfied and happy that Connecticut is playing in the finals,” he said. “We are very pleased with the turnout and teams.”
As spectators streamed into the center to find their seats or grab a bite from the vendors, former Mayor and City Councilor Bill Stortz said he attends the championship games every year and noted that the tournament is “growing like crazy” each year.
“It’s really a great tournament,” Stortz said. “It’s also a plus for Bristol and a chance to show off to surrounding towns and people from out of state everything that the city has to offer. I hope the games come back in the future. It shows support for the kids, which the community needs.
“The community will also benefit from the event, because all the people it is drawing in,” he said, adding that spectators who traveled to the game most likely visited businesses around town when it ended.
Hines said the the game drew people from Connecticut and out of state, since the Mid-Atlantic Regional final was held at the center after the New England championship game.
In the crowd Saturday was Sue Abbonizio, who traveled from New Jersey with her son Anthony, who was playing in the Mid-Atlantic tournament.
As she waited for her son’s game to start, Abbonizio said that she and her family have been staying in Southington for the past week.
“This is our first time in Bristol and we are really enjoying the event and being outside. It’s really fun to watch the boys play,” she said.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-973-5088.