Eight-year-olds from all across the country will hit the Connecticut diamond this weekend in their own version of the World Series.
This weekend in Waterbury, the shouts of play ball will bring a boost to the Brass City and the local economy. Waterbury is the host the Roberto Clemente World Series, and teams of eight-year-olds, their coaches and families are in the city for the tournament.
Alfredo Perez, who resides in Brooklyn, said he was incredibly proud of his son who is playing in the tournament.
“First trip to the World Series and the kid’s expression and how happy they are is amazing," Perez said.
The sights and the sounds of the tournament are filling Municipal Stadium and two other parks in the Brass City, from the crack of the bat to the clanging of a cowbell.
The tournament is bringing families from all over the country. Chuck Salerno from Albany was excited about the event, and the family ties behind it.
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s pretty cool. My grandson is playing, my son-in-law is coaching. It’s fun following them around," Salerno said.
The 16-team tournament is put on by the American Amateur Baseball Congress. While Cheshire and Wolcott had the shortest trip, there are teams from New Mexico, Michigan, Georgia and even Puerto Rico.
Ray Brown, the director of the tournament, highlighted how much the tournament does for the local economy.
“They're staying in hotels. They're going to the movie theater. They're eating in the restaurants. It’s big for the local businesses," Brown said.
Depending on the outcome of the tournament, Brown said they’d love to host in the future. Brown said he hopes that once the main stadium is refurbished, they can bid for some of the older divisions to play as well.
While the players may have Big Little League dreams, one doesn’t have to look far to see these little sluggers are still kids enjoying their summer vacation. Perez explained there has been a slight challenge making sure the kids don’t waste all their energy.
“The coaches are trying to limit their pool time at the hotel, we don't want them to be in the pool all day and have no strength to play, so that's the hardest part, haha, but other than that, dinner, the time in the hotel together and with the other teams from the other states and Puerto Rico. It's good," Perez said.
The tournament continues through Sunday. For more information on the tournament, click here.
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