Summer little league gears up for ‘longest running youth baseball tournament in New England.’

Aug 1, 2023

The Dartmouth Youth Activities Association's July 27 Little League playoffs brought out friends, family and the competitive spirit in many young baseball players, until the thunder arrived.

Each batter knew what was on the line — lots of bragging rights.

The volunteer coaches wanted to win as badly as the kids, cheering on their teams through the highs and lows of the games.

“We are the Tigers, mighty mighty Tigers,” the Tigers players yelled from the dugout while their teammates were up to bat against the Reds.

The players were determined to keep running the score up early in the game: the Tigers scored frequently in early innings before a late-game comeback by the Reds ending with 17 to 7.

The games on the 27th were playoffs to determine the championship matchups for each league. The Junior League championship is scheduled for August 3 at 7 p.m., while the Little League championship will be on August 8 at 7 p.m., both hosted at Crapo field, 225 Russells Mills Road.

Before all the teams could finish their games Thursday, thunder and rain took over causing some games to be suspended. At the time of publication, the championship matchups have not been finalized.

For the Little League, the Reds will play the Blue Jays and the winner of that game will play the winner of the Dodgers versus Red Sox's game to determine the champion.

For the Junior League, the Red Sox will finish their suspended game against the Marlins, where the Sox were winning by three runs at the bottom of the third inning. The winner will advance to the Junior League championship.

“Our young athletes are all amazing kids, who look out for each other,” said Nicole Cabral, who is a DYAA board member and parent of a participant. “It is a kind, cooperative community [where] everyone pushes each other up.”

The DYAA offers Dartmouth residents coed leagues for tee-ball for children aged 4 to 5, junior baseball for 8 and 9-year-olds, and little league for 10 to 12-year-olds. After little league, there is the pony league for baseball players aged 13 to 16.

In the winter, there are parallel programs for basketball, played indoors at the Dartmouth elementary schools.

Cabral explained that it is not uncommon for an athlete to age out and continue to volunteer with the league at tournaments and games.

On the weekends of August 4 and August 11, the DYAA will host their annual John B. Steele Tournament, the Longest Running Youth Baseball Tournament in New England. The tournament is not only exciting for the participants, but it’s also a fun community event to just attend, Cabral said.

The concession stand, which she says is much better than others in the area, will raise money for the DYAA through their food and drink sales. The money goes towards capital improvements and helps keep participation cost down. The tournament is held at Crapo Fields.