By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – Supporters of all ages attended a sendoff Aug. 1 outside Hudson High School for the town’s age 12-and-under (12U) Jr. Hawks baseball team before competing in their first Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series game Aug. 4. The series features 70-foot base paths and a 50-foot pitching distance. As the New England regional champions, Hudson 12U Jr. Hawks is one of 24 teams – 16 from the United States and eight internationally – that qualified to compete at Baseball Parks of America in Branson, Miss.
Team Manager Matt McFarland welcomed the teammates, coaches, supporters and elected officials to the sendoff.
“We’re representing all of New England,” McFarland said of the local team. “They put in a lot of hard work and they’re seeing how it pays off. It’s an honor to coach them.”
Also delivering congratulatory remarks were state Rep. Kate Hogan (D-Stow) and Hudson Selectmen Chair John Parent. Hudson Youth Baseball/Softball (HYBS) President Matt Packard noted that this team is the town’s first regional champs and mentioned each teammate’s unique contributions.
The teammates are Lucas Cail, Danny Demirjian, Mikey DiCarlo, Marco DiPlacido, Bobby Goyette, Aiden Hallsworth, Bobby Long Jr., Connor Madden, Teddy McFarland, Jackson O’Brien, Max Person and Eddie Rodriguez. In addition to Team Manager McFarland, coaches are Don DiCarlo, Rob Hallsworth and Ken O’Brien.
Before boarding a bus when the sendoff concluded, McFarland told the team, “This is not a vacation. We can have fun, but we’re there to win.”
The team traveled by bus to Hartford, Conn. They were welcomed at the Hartford hotel where they stayed overnight with a marquee proclaiming, “Congrats, Hudson Jr. Hawks!” The following day they flew from Bradley International Airport to Branson, Miss.
Soon after the team earned the New England regional champs title July 20, the community conducted fundraisers to defray the costs of World Series travel and accommodations. On July 28, teammates collected donations outside the Hudson Post Office and Market Basket. Later that evening, the Hudson Baseball Alumni Association played a reunion game and gave all proceeds to the 12U Jr. Hawks.
Donations can be made online at gf.me/u/j7aafj; or sent by postal mail to Hudson Youth Baseball/Softball Inc, PO Box 29, Hudson, MA 01749. HYBS is a registered 501(c)(3), tax ID #04-3458485. The Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series game schedule is posted online at major70worldseries.org/watch. For information about HYBS, visit hybs.org and facebook.com/HYBSA.