WILTON, Conn. -- For many young boys, playing in a big league stadium, looking up at the grandstand surrounded by lights and playing on a well-manicured field would be a dream come true. For a few boys from Wilton, that dream came true.
The 13U Connecticut Wolfpack Baseball Club based in Fairfield County, which includes Wilton residents Jack Dooley, Ian Filaski and Dillon Lifrieri, headed to a one-week baseball tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.
The tournament was made up of 24 regional team winners from different states, and each vied for the championship title. Wolfpack Manager Mike Fournier, Coach Tim Currie and the players all went to the tournament with one purpose in mind—to win the AAU 2013 Grand National Championship.
The team’s achievements did not go unnoticed -- from Jack Dooley’s tape measure blast for a three-run home run, to Ian Filaski’s stellar performance behind the plate catching for Wolfpack’s dominant pitchers, to the five-tool player Dillon Lifrieri, whose tournament batting average was .667. All this, coupled with a spectacular team effort, led to the Wolfpack’s winning streak that earned the team a position in the finals.
The Wolfpack headed into the finals with a record of 8-0 before it faced the 13U TaylorMade Mizuno from Spotsylvania, Va., to compete for the AAU 2013 Grand National Championship—13U title.
The game was played at Champion Stadium, home to Atlanta Braves Spring Training facility, and broadcast live on ESPN 3 on June 28. The two teams fought a hard battle, which was reflected in the see-saw score throughout the game. After seven nail-biting innings, the game ended with a victory for the Wolfpack, 7-6.
Also worthy of note is another Wilton resident, Ian Blachford, whose team, the 12U Connecticut Diamond Sports Stealth, defeated the 12U Florida Stingrays, 9-1, at the AAU Grand National Championship—12U.
This feat demonstrates that the Northeast, and Connecticut, can produce student athletes that can compete with states such as Florida, Texas, Virginia and Georgia. The hard work and tenacity of the manger, coach, and a group of young athletes scored a victory not only for the Wolfpack but also for the state of Connecticut and for the towns these baseball players represent.
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