Aug. 15, 2012
Tournament Website | 2012 Results
ESSEX, Vt. - The second decade of the Travis Roy Foundation Vermont WIFFLE Ball Tournament opened this weekend at Little Fenway and Little Wrigley and despite fighting inclement weather, the 11th edition of the tourney concluded Sunday continuing the success of the first 10 years. The 24-team backyard WIFFLE ball tourney brought home a record $427,000 (as of 8/13/12), to benefit the foundation that benefits and creates awareness for people with spinal cord injuries. The fundraising total exceed last year's record $407,000 to bring the 11-year total of roughly $1,926,000 that is just $74,000 away of the two million dollar mark.
The tournament, which raised $40,000 in its first three years, has now brought in a staggering $1.2 million over the last three. Contributions will be accepted until September 30, 2012 to attempt to reach the two million dollar level. Log on to www.travisroyfoundation.org for WIFFLE ball donation information.
The theme of this year's tourney was 'Eleven Seconds to Eleven Years: Playing Together for a Cure' to celebrate the book, 'Eleven Seconds', written by Travis Roy and Sports Illustrated senior writer E.M. Swift that was the inspiration for tournament founder and host Pat O'Connor. O'Connor built the quarter-sized replicas of the two iconic major league parks in his backyard in Essex, Vermont and spearheads the tournament effort.
"It was an extraordinary weekend of fun, healthy competition, and most of all incredible generosity on the part of countless volunteers, players, sponsors, and individual donors," said O'Connor. "We are all proud to be a part of the Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE ball family and appreciate everyone's help in moving us closer to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries and helping others affected in need."
"Trying to describe what goes on at Little Fenway and Little Wrigley during the second weekend of August is always one of the most difficult things for me to do," said Travis Roy, the former Boston University men's hockey player who resides with his family each summer in nearby Malletts Bay on Lake Champlain. "This year the rain may have slowed down the games but it certainly didn't dampen the spirit or the enthusiasm of the players. The weekend was magical!
"It is amazing to see the support that took place after my accident, but to see it continue 17 years later, by way of the Travis Roy Foundation, is truly a testament to the generosity and humanity that surrounds us. I'd like to thank everyone who made this fantastic event possible."
On the field, the hard-working field volunteers successfully battled rain Friday and Saturday that saw only minor delays and no cancellations. Sunday, the Braintree, Mass.-based Jackhammers captured their second championship and first since 2008 by holding off the Boston Beef, 7-4, in the title game at Little Fenway. In an emotional moment after the final out, the Jackhammers rushed off the field to celebrate with co-captain Jack Shadduck, a UMass Boston student who is paralyzed with a spinal cord injury who was seated behind his team's bench.
Jackhammers standout Tom Fratto was named the tournament's most valuable player after winning two playoff games with dramatic game-ending homers and going 6-0 on the mound. The runner-up and two-time champion Boston Beef, making its third title game appearance, won its sixth-straight Fan Club Award for the team with the largest fundraising effort. The other major award-winners were Michael Vecchione of Comets Express who was named the Kim Trahan Fundraising Leadership Award for creativity, leadership and innovation in its fundraising effort; Youppi's Groupies captain Matt Riegert, a Hockey East and ECAC Hockey official, won the Tommy Long Sportsmanship Award; and Ron Rose, longtime tournament graphics designer and web coordinator, was inducted into the Little Fenway Hall of Fame.
The tournament began Friday with the opening ceremonies and the annual Celebrity-Sponsor game at Little Fenway. Highlighting the celebrities and sponsors on hand over the weekend were WIFFLE Inc. president Dave Mullany, who is the grandson of the inventor of WIFFLE Ball, JetBlue Airways President and CEO David Barger, former major league pitcher Bill 'Spaceman' Lee, former UVM hoop standouts Taylor Coppenrath, Matt Glass and Evan Fjeld, local comedian Rusty 'The Logger' DeWees, reigning Miss Vermont Chelsea Ingram, Catamounts men's hockey coach Kevin Sneddon, former UVM and Tabor Academy hockey standout Peter Lenes, former record-setting UNH wide receiver David Ball and members of the media as well as representatives of Dunkin Donuts, Vermont Tent Company, the Vermont Lake Monsters staff and Peoples United Bank.
For more information on the Travis Roy Foundation, log on to www.travisroyfoundation.org.