Longest running youth baseball tournament in the northeast brings teams from near and far
Believed to be the “oldest consecutive running youth baseball tournament in the northeast,” the John B. Steele tournament brought 30 teams from across New England to DYAA’s Crapo Fields.
“I think it’s a huge boost to this town, people from all over are coming,” said Chris Garth, assistant codirector of DYAA and a primary organizer of the tournament. “It’s one of the top five events that takes place in town every year as far as bringing people into the community and showing off what’s good.”
Over the weekends of Aug. 4 and Aug. 11, four Dartmouth All Star teams played, one for each age group from 9u to 12u. The 10u team hit the largest winning streak, sending themselves to the semifinals against Parkway Little League from West Roxbury.
“It was nice to play in this tournament, very nice,” said Cole Almedia who played in the 10u semifinal and was named MVP. “A lot of people are nice here, and the umpires and coaches are too.”
Both the 9u and 11u reached the quarterfinals, losing to Fairhaven Acushnet and Barnstable, respectively. The 12u team unfortunately lost its three games the weekend of Aug. 11.
“It is good to see them win, but I was here all day yesterday when they lost,” said Dolores O’Neale who was supporting her grandson on the Fairhaven - Acushnet 10u team.
The Fairhaven - Acushnet teams went on to win the tournament both weekends.
Over 100 volunteers are required for the tournament. The volunteers, mostly parents, help score the games, prepare the fields, announce the games and work the snack shack.
Teams come from as far as New Hampshire and western Massachusetts to play in the tournament.
Jim Vieira has been running the tournament for over 30 years; “Vieira Field” at Crapo attests to his contributions.
“People ask ‘Why are you still here?’,” Vieira said. “Because I’m proud of this tournament, it gets better every year and it continues to grow.”
He said teams make the long trip to Crapo Fields because they appreciate how organized and thoughtful the tournament is.
DYAA announces every player in every game. They also have official scorers and give out individual outstanding player awards, such as MVP and the Golden Glove award. Those awards are backed up by the diligent scorekeeping efforts that can show a player’s accomplishments during any given game.
“There’s a real surprise factor for kids when they win something,” Garth said. “Coaches really appreciate it … [the scorekeeping] provides some assurance that you did something special.”
Every game is also scored and streamed live on the Gamechanger website, which means friends and family can watch from any location.