Tag Archives: Westport Little League

Remembering Perrin Delorey

Jeffrey Brill — president of Westport Baseball and Softball — sent this very sad statement tonight:

As many of you in the Little League community learned today, Perrin Delorey, a 10-year-old Westport Little League player, passed away tragically following a car accident on Sunday afternoon after visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Perrin passed with his Little League glove beside him. I will always remember him, as he appears in this photo after receiving a game ball this Spring season on May 5.

Perrin Delorey

On behalf of Westport Little League, we offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the Delorey family and friends.

I am sending this note not only as the President of Westport Little League Baseball and Softball, but also as a coach of his AA team, the Cubs. I have gotten to know Perrin very well over the years while coaching him in baseball, basketball and soccer.

Wearing #5 on the Cubs this season, Perrin embodied the ethos and spirit of Little League. He exuded the team player concept and was committed to working hard to help his team.

Awarding him a game ball earlier in the season, and seeing his face in the moment, was a highlight of the coaches’ and players’ season. He was the most improved player on the team this season, and a joy to coach. My co-coaches and his prior coaches all echo this sentiment. He will deeply missed by his teammates, coaches and friends.

This news hits the Westport Little League community especially hard in these circumstances. Perrin’s first cousin, Phillip Sullivan, plays on the AA Brewers team and his grandfather, Bill Ryan, is a longtime friend and supporter of Westport Little League. Please join me in supporting the Delorey, Ryan and Sullivan families during this incredibly difficult time.

RWestport Little League intends to honor Perrin in a number of ways that we will be announcing and we will share different ways you can honor his memory.

When Perrin’s mother mentioned to me that Perrin would miss the Cubs playoff game this past Saturday, I promised her that Perrin would play another game with the Cubs after Saturday — no matter what happened this past Saturday on the field as a function of the double elimination nature of the playoffs — and reassured her that he should not miss out on a trip with his family and a visit to Cooperstown.

While the latter was certainly true about spending precious time with his family, I could not have been more wrong about the former, as events off the baseball field dictated the tragic course of events.

If we can take anything away from this senseless tragedy, it is that life can be transient and fragile, and one should relish every moment with one’s loved ones on the field and off the field.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with Perrin’s family and friends.

Remembering Howard Dickstein

The men and women who grew up in the 1920s and ’30s — and who served their country in so many ways — have been called the Greatest Generation.

The nickname fits in Westport too. Arriving here in postwar droves, those young parents served their new hometown with the same vigor. They imparted important values to their kids (and their kids’ friends). They volunteered wherever and however they could. The roots they planted then still help bear fruit today.

Westport lost another member of that Greatest Generation last week. Howard Dickstein died at home, a month shy of his 90th birthday.

You may not have known his name. But he was one of those men and women who made Westport the kind of town it is.

An honors graduate of New York’s DeWitt Clinton High School (at age 16), he supported himself through NYU’s journalism school by working at an ad agency, and as a stringer for the Herald Tribune.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, he completed his NYU degree on the GI Bill.

Dickstein spent most of his career in advertising, eventually running his own agency. He returned to journalism after retirement, as a proofreader and columnist (“Hawkeye”)/sportswriter for the Minuteman. He particularly enjoyed covering the Staples High School soccer team, long after his sons Peter and Steve starred for the Wreckers.

Howard Dickstein

Dickstein’s passions ranged far and wide. During the civil rights era he co-sponsored The Forum, which brought speakers like Floyd McKissick and Norman Thomas to Westport.

He promoted dialogue between Westport and Bridgeport, and designed pamphlets for fair housing.

He was a 2-term president of the Southern Connecticut Ethical Society, a volunteer in the Norwalk Hospital emergency room, a meal server at the Senior Center, and a longtime Little League umpire.

Fascinated by the OJ Simpson trial, he enrolled at Norwalk Community College to study criminal justice. As part of his studies, he accompanied local police on ride-alongs.

He and Kate — his wife of 64 years — were original members of The Turkeys. For 30 years, the group met in members’ homes, read plays and shared food and laughs.

He was a talented and tireless handyman. He spent years constructing a massive stone wall at his Park Lane home.

Dickstein adored the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, and was chronically disappointed by the New York Mets.

Of all his accomplishments though, he was most proud of his family. He is survived by his wife Kate; sons Peter (Lisa) of San Francisco and Stephen (Natalie) of Delray Beach, Florida, and daughter Jane (Gordon) of Mill Valley California; 5 grandchildren; his sister Geraldine, and nieces, nephews and cousins.

Special gratitude goes to his dedicated caregivers, Stacy Meikle and Jennifer  Wilson.

At his request, a memorial service will be private. Contributions in Howard Dickstein’s name made be made to Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, PO Box 489, Wilton, CT 06897.

Pic Of The Day #7

Little Leaguers practicing this morning. (Photo/Leslie Flinn)

A Sure Sign Of Spring

Earlier today, alert “06880” reader Fred Cantor watched a woman struggle against fierce Compo winds, trying to get this sign to stand:

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

When he saw what it said, Fred immediately felt hopeful. He knows there’s nicer weather ahead.

He adds: “Many thanks to the volunteer who brought a bit of sunshine on this miserable day.”

Route To The Royals

Westport is known for many things. Producing professional baseball players is not one of them.

So we’ll take full credit for Joey Markus — even though his athletic career in Westport consisted of just a season in Little League.

Joey Markus in Little League...

Joey Markus in Little League…

But the 9th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals has a decent local pedigree.

His father, Steve Markus, graduated from Staples in 1976, and played baseball and football there.

His mother, Robin Greenhut Markus, was a 1981 grad. She captained both the volleyball and ski teams.

Joey’s academic career in Westport consisted of a few months at Coleytown Elementary School. His family then moved to DeLand, Florida, where he was a power-hitter who played several positions.

Delayed puberty and and growth plate issues in his shoulder hampered his high school career. He coached the high school girls softball team one year; as a senior he was a designated hitter on a team that reached the state finals.

Still, he received a full athletic scholarship from Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida. Last year, he finally pitched. Scouts liked what they saw: 1 6-6 left-hander who throws 91-93 miles an hour.

Joey is playing now for the Burlington Royals, a Rookie-level team in the Appalachian League.

...and as a Burlington Royal.

…and as a Burlington Royal.

 

 

Westport Little Leaguers Make It To Williamsport — Again!

A year ago this weekend Jeb Backus was in Pennsylvania, cheering rabidly as Westport’s team made a storied run to the Little League World Series final.

Jeb was back in Williamsport today. He was less invested in the title game — Chicago won 7-5, over Las Vegas — but was thrilled to see Westport has not been forgotten.

Way-larger-than-life banners outside Lamade Stadium honor Chad Knight, and the rest of the local team.

Little League 1 - Chady Knight by Jeb Backus

Time flies. On Monday, most of those former Little Leaguers begin their freshman year at Staples High School.

Little League 2 - by Jeb Backus

A Very Special Little League “Challenge”

The 2nd season of Challenger Little League baseball is in the books. And it’s hard to tell who had more fun: the boys and girls with disabilities, or the “buddies” who helped them.

18 “Westport Winner” players faced Greenwich yesterday, at the season-ender on Meyer Field.

As always, each Winner had a buddy to help them at bat and in the field. This time the buddies included the regulars — players’ siblings, and commissioners’ and coaches’ kids — plus special guests: 8 of the 11 boys from last summer’s Little League World Series squad. Scott Stagg and Mike Connors are the highly regarded coaches.

There may be no joy in Mudville. But there sure is at Meyer Field, during Challenger Little League's final day of the season.

There may be no joy in Mudville. But there sure is at Meyer Field, during Challenger Little League’s final day of the season.

After the game, the players and their buddies shared pizzas. Then came trophies, and player-picture baseball cards for all.

Everyone is already looking forward to next year. Congrats to all involved in this Challenger program — which is really no challenge at all.

 

Little League Addresses Misappropriation Of Funds

Less than a year ago, Westport Little League made huge news with the All-Stars’ run to the national championship game.

Today, the baseball news is less good. Jeff White, chairman of Westport Baseball & Softball, issued this statement tonight:

Westport Baseball & Softball has a long and successful history of serving our community.  We are proud of what our children have accomplished over the years, and the Board of Directors takes all aspects of our work seriously.

Westport Little LeagueRecently, the Board began an internal investigation into allegations that one of our Board members misappropriated funds in multiple ways for his personal gain.  As a result of the investigation, the Board made a unanimous decision to turn the matter over to the Westport Police Department to investigate further, and this matter is now in their hands.  The Board member has resigned, and is no longer affiliated with Westport Baseball & Softball.  The expenditures in question will not hinder our operations and commitment in any way.

Since learning of the situation, and in order to protect Westport Baseball & Softball for the long term, we have made several improvements, including new financial procedures and improved ways to review and approve reimbursements and expenditures.

Westport Baseball & Softball will continue to deliver all of the popular, broad-based programs that we always have. With the weather starting to break and a new season on the horizon, we look forward to another fun, productive, successful year for our more than 1200 children.

Youth Sports Leagues Team Up To Win

Over 6,000 Westport kids play sports. Many do more than one. And — as every parent knows — many sports are now played in more than one season.

It’s a grand slam of opportunities — and a grand problem for kids (multiple demands), parents (conflicting schedules) and administrators (not a lot of fields).

Westport’s Parks & Rec Department is trying to bring some order to the pileup.

As de facto coordinator of youth sports in town — it oversees most facilities, and runs several programs itself — Parks & Rec has organized a Westport Youth Sports Council.

Members include every major organization in town: Little League baseball and softball; PAL (lacrosse, football, track, wrestling, basketball, cheerleading); the Westport Soccer Association, and Westport Field Hockey. They meet several times a year.

The goal, says Parks & Rec program manager and Council director Karen Puskas, is for every group to be “on the same page.” In the same ballpark, if you will.

Thousands of Westport youngsters play on hundreds of teams, in a wide variety of sports.

Soon after the holidays, they’ll roll out a new website. It will offer a master schedule; links to every program; a code of conduct; concussion awareness, and information for current residents, as well as anyone with sports-loving kids considering a move to Westport.

This spring, the council plans an open house. Every organization can showcase its program.

Also in the works: informational sessions for parents about college athletics, and townwide forums on topics like specialization and burnout.

“It’s a work in progress,” Puskas admits. “We’re all busy, and everyone is a volunteer. It will only be successful if everyone works together.”

But, she notes, 2 years ago Westport won a National Alliance for Youth Sports award for its comprehensive programs. This council builds on that cooperation.

Westport’s sports organizations are filled with “great people,” Puskas says. “For everyone, it’s all about the kids.”

(If your browser does not connect you directly to YouTube, click here.)

 

Westport To Williamsport: The Back Story

For 30 years, Rob Stone has been a sports legend in Westport.

In 1983, his shot from midfield soared over the Ridgefield soccer goalkeeper’s head. There were just 7 minutes remaining in Staples’ state championship match. Rob’s goal — the only one of his varsity career — gave the Wreckers their 2nd straight state championship.

Now Rob’s son Matt has won a state title too. But he’s gone his dad one better.

Matt is a New England champion. He’s a catcher on the Westport Little League all-star team. Following Saturday’s nail-biting 1-0 win over Lincoln, Rhode Island, Matt and his teammates are headed to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. On Thursday (August 15, 7 p.m., ESPN2), they face South Nashville, Tennessee in game 1 of their double-elimination path to an international title.

That’s a goal Matt’s dad — or, until a couple of weeks ago, probably no one in Westport — ever dreamed of.

Westport Little League all-stars (from left) Max Popkin, Alex Reiner, Matt Stone and Drew Rogers  look relaxed and happy.

Westport Little League all-stars (from left) Max Popkin, Alex Reiner, Matt Stone and Drew Rogers look relaxed and happy.

The story began 2 years ago, when former Division I college pitcher Tim Rogers organized a 10-and-under AAU travel team, the Connecticut Seals. 

The boys quickly began winning. They also won as a Little League District team, which included some (but not all) of the Seals.

A crushing Little League loss came in the District 2 finals. Leading with 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th (and final) inning, they lost on an error on a routine play. Fairfield — the team that pulled out that win — went on to win the state championship.

The loss was “the best thing that could have happened” to the boys, Rob says. He knew it meant something when his son changed his phone’s password to “LLWS2013.”

It stood for “Little League World Series 2013,” Matt told his father. “That’s what we all want.”

Pitcher Harry Azadian sent this photo to his teammates. It shows the Little League stadium in Williamsport -- Westport's goal for the past year.

Pitcher Harry Azadian sent this photo to his teammates. It shows the Little League stadium in Williamsport — Westport’s goal for the past year.

The boys played all fall. During the winter they worked out at an indoor facility, with batting, pitching and fielding instructors.

When the Little League all-star season began this spring, Westport was virtually unchallenged. They went 7-0, outscoring their foes 63-7. Beating Fairfield National twice marked another big step.

In the 1st game of the sectional tournament, they avenged last year’s loss to a Bristol, Connecticut-area team. They faced the same pitcher who beat them previously — but exploded for an 8-0, no-hit victory.

They roared through the sectional and state championships — still undefeated — and headed to the New England tournament in Bristol.

(The final pitch of the New England championship, as shown on ESPN. If your browser does not take you directly to YouTube, click here.)

The boys and coaches stayed in a dorm with other teams. Playing 6 games in 10 days, they outscored the opposition 43-8. Their 2 dominant pitchers and stellar defensive work have been as impressive as their prowess at the plate.

Just as important is their spirit. The boys teammates are “all best friends,” Rob says. “They have a great time together — very similar to the feeling of our soccer team 30 years ago. They have a great sense of humor, and are always joking with each other. They’re very cohesive, on and off the field.”

Every single player, Rob says, made “a big-time contribution” during their state and regional championship runs. And “there is unconditional support among the players. When mistakes happen, they own it as a team and pick each other up.”

Rob praises Tim as “an exceptional coach. He is really good with the kids. He knows how to focus them individually and collectively, and has great judgment. All the boys respect him, and have tremendous confidence in him and his decisions.”

That’s true “even when the decision might be negative for the player, like moving him down in the batting order or not starting him.”

Plenty of teams have plenty of talent. This Westport Little League all-star team has chemistry and passion too.

It’s taken them far.

But no matter how much farther they go, they’ve already won 2 things that are more important than any championship:

Confidence in themselves and each other.

And the hearts of everyone in their home town.

Parents and friends cheer the Westport Little League all-stars' bus.

Parents and friends cheer the Westport Little League all-stars’ bus.