Dartmouth wins big on first day of Steele Tournament
The Dartmouth Youth Activities Association’s John B. Steele tournament started strong right off the bat on a clear Friday evening on August 2 at Crapo Field.
Two Dartmouth teams were among the sixteen from two age groups — 10 and under and 14 and under — playing on the opening night for the tournament, which takes place over the first two weekends in August this year.
And both teams won.
The tournament will see 44 teams from all over Massachusetts and Rhode Island play in what tournament director Jim Vieira said is the oldest of its kind in New England — it’s been taking place for over 45 years.
Dartmouth’s 9 and under team started the evening on a high note against Whitman in the 10U division, capitalizing on an early lead to finish the game with a 25-3 win in only four innings.
Coach Tim Stott was happy with their performance.
“We hit the ball well,” he said with restraint. “It’s a great group of kids.”
The team was fresh from a big victory after winning the Swansea All-Star tournament last weekend.
According to Stott, on the last day of the tournament, they played four games back-to-back for 11 hours in 90-degree temperatures.
“For kids to step up and keep focus and persevere, it was such a high point,” Stott said with a smile. “We’re just keeping that train rolling!”
Stott attributed part of the team’s success to their recently learning new skills, like stealing bases — which they did often at Friday’s game.
“You can see them grow right in front of your eyes,” said the coach.
“They’ve played terrific so far,” said Dartmouth spectator Dan Gonsalves, who was watching his grandson Cam Gonsalves play.
“They’ve come such a long, long way,” agreed parent Shawn Andrade. “The chemistry. Great coaching, the coaching staff has been phenomenal with these guys. Just watching this team grow — it’s been a pleasure to watch.”
The Dartmouth players were in very high spirits after the match. “It went well,” said nine-year-old Brendan Martin, who said that his favorite part of the game was defense.
After the match the team celebrated Logan Stott’s tenth birthday with cupcakes and singing.
Meanwhile the tournament continued on all five fields, with parents and siblings gathered to watch from seats behind the chain-link fences.
The Dartmouth U14 team started playing against Lower Cape at 8 p.m.
The two teams were more evenly matched, ending the first inning with a 1-1 tie.
But Dartmouth ultimately won the game 5-4.
“This is our major fundraiser for DYAA,” said Vieira. “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, because I enjoy it.”
Vieira said he used to play in DYAA himself back in the day. “I played, and I coached for many many years,” he said. “When I first started here, there was one field. And I’ve watched it grow.”
He noted that if he had the funding, he’d upgrade the lights and other electrical equipment, which he said are probably around 30-40 years old.
“We don’t get one dime from the town,” Vieira added. “Not one dime.”
The Dartmouth 9U team ended up losing both of their Saturday games, to Swansea Independent Baseball League and Sandwich, while the 14U team beat Tiverton on Saturday only to lose in the semi-finals to Maplewood on Sunday. Dartmouth’s 10U team lost all three of their Saturday games to Swansea, Fairhaven-Acushnet Little League, and West Bridgewater.