Text and Photos By Steev Riccardo
Oxford – The State Champion Oxford Junior League baseball team has already accomplished something that has never been done before in the town’s history, and now they have the opportunity to go even further.
Manager Paul Fitzpatrick and his team, made up of 13- and 14-year olds, defeated Tewksbury in two straight games to win the state title on Sunday, July 23, advancing to the Eastern United States regional tournament, which gets under way this weekend in Township, New Jersey.
“The first day we talked about effort and attitude and the energy that you need,” said Fitzpatrick. “We practiced for about a week and we added in a little discipline and the heart that you need to go on and we told them the only way we win is by being a team. It’s not about one individual, it’s about all 12 guys on the team. The majority of the games it has been 12 kids coming together and playing good baseball.”
The Oxford Junior League team, which consists of 12 players, three from each of its four teams, beat Auburn to win its district and then surprised everyone with a win over East Bridgewater, which led them to the best-of-three state championship game in Lowell against Tewksbury.
“It was amazing to be there in Lowell, and to win it the way we won was fabulous,” said Fitzpatrick, who has worked with assistant coaches Tim St. Germain and Burt Desautals to get this team ready for this amazing playoff run.
State Representative Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) stopped by the team’s first practice after winning the state title to congratulate them and to invite them to the State House for pizza and promised them ice cream if they go further in the tournament.
If Oxford wins the Eastern Regional, they will travel to Michigan to compete for the national championship.
“We are very proud of them,” said Fattman, “and I will do anything I can to help them out. I have my connections in the community and I would like to solicit them and help the team raise some funds and get to Michigan and win this entire thing.”
“This is the favorite part of my job, being younger I kind of remember this very well. It was basketball for me, but its great to see the local team doing well,” said Fattman, who played high school basketball for his alma mater Sutton High School.
The Little Leaguers have a bye for the first round and will play the winner of New Jersey and Rhode Island on Sunday, August 5.
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- Monday, 30 July 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports