BEACON FALLS — A collection of young players from Robert A. Cole Little League of Beacon Falls received experience sooner than most at their age and got a brief taste of competitive action.
A collection of players ranging from 6 to 9 years old joined together to compete in a round-robin tournament with other teams from the Naugatuck Valley. Players from three coach-pitch teams within the league were selected by league coaches for the team.
The jump could be difficult for some players. After a season of coach-pitch baseball, the tournament featured live pitching — which meant batters had to adjust, and players were pitching in a game for the first time.
“We had two weeks following the regular season to get players ready to pitch and face pitching,” Beacon Falls manager Derek Palange said. “And they did great.”
RACBL went 4-2 during the tournament and reached the finals before losing to a team from a Derby.
Dakota Palange, Max Martin, Deven Dorsey, Ryan Mettendorf, Ryan Deptula and Colby Ruggerio all pitched for Beacon Falls.
“They threw strikes, and that’s all we wanted,” said Derek Palange, who coached with Matt Deptula and James O’Donnell.
They threw to first-time catchers Gavin Desrochers and Zachary Vartko, with Ryan Deptula also handing some of the duties.
Ethan Clark, Carter Davis, Justin DeCampos, Matthew Gunnison, Jamie Napoleone and Zachary Renaud were also on the team and gained valuable end-of-the-season experience.
Depending on each player’s age, he will return to either coach-pitch level or move up to the minors, which is typically for 9- and 10-year-olds.
However, the coach made clear, this experience had nothing to do with winning and losing, and everything to do with becoming better players.
“It’s going to help them so much,” Derek Palange said. “They exceeded all of our expectations and learned things so quickly.”