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Regarding the history of little league and how it evolved into Cal Ripken, the process required several concerned individuals who were thinking of the kids who are currently playing and to those who will be in the future.
The Greater Rumford Community Center had a long standing program, that was actually subcontracted from Rumford as the old Rumford Recreation program and worked fine for what we had available in the River Valley. Over the years, it organized teams from Andover, Canton, Dixfield, Mexico, Peru, Rumford and Rumford Point. It was Bob Anderson of the GRCC and Wayne Sevigny of River Valley Rec who were instrumental in wanting to bring Cal Ripken to our area.
"Both thought that a formal national affiliated program would better serve our area," said Ed Paterson, who is currently president of Cal Ripken. "Both GRCC and River Valley Rec wanted to continue to improve the education level of coaches, the quality of umpiring and experience of our children."
The GRCC voluntarily gave up its own program of Little League and Farm League to allow towns to develop their own teams and work as a unified Cal Ripken program. The coaches and players in the league would have still participated in the former GRCC program had Bob Anderson of GRCC not contacted Cal Ripken directly to initiate Cal Ripken.
The members and volunteers at GRCC had discussed changing to the Cal Ripken program for several years, but coaches voted not to participate until last year. The changeover redirected management from the GRCC to a volunteer board of directors made up of area youth baseball leaders.
The group then asked Paterson, with his past baseball background and league organizational skills, to be president. The biggest challenge has been to get all towns on the same platform and help the league improve for all concerned.
The recent board has been made up of Lester "Joe" Bryant of Dixfield, who coached The Blue Diamonds minor league program; Wayne Sevigny, who is director of River Valley Rec and also coached the Dupuis of Mexico major league and assisted with Mexico Lyons minor league; Ryan Palmer of Rumford, who is coach of Dirigo High School varsity team and also the new coach of Central Maine Community College baseball and one of the league's certified umpires; Chris Bean of Rumford Point, who helped coach the RP major league team and is also coach of Mountain Valley wrestling team; Roxanne/Pat Gorham of Peru, who helped run Peru Rec and Paterson of Rumford as a long time baseball player, coach, umpire and volunteer.
"We feel we are moving in the right direction and we hope to continue to improve the program both as an experience for our local youth and also to assist as a developmental program for both Dirigo and Mountain Valley baseball in the future," said Paterson.
The Mexico Lions and the Green Monsters from Dixfield played for the 2013 Minor League Cal Ripken Championship. The Mexico Lions won with a thrilling 12-11 victory.
The Cal Ripken League has been in existence for two years and this year the league implemented players between the ages of 6-9 to pitch the first two innings with coaches pitching the third to sixth.
Owen Sevigny started for the Mexico with Grant Carrier coming in to pitch the second Inning. The Green Monsters' lone pitcher was Dakota Tompkins. The Green Monsters held a slim 1-0 lead after the second inning.
The offense would soon get going for both teams as the Green Monsters and Lions exchanged leads for the next four innings. The Lions were trailing 10-8 when Jake New led off the sixth inning with a triple, scoring four runs to take a 12-10 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, with one out and one run already in, the tying run was at third. Lions' third baseman Colby Dow and catcher Caden Welch came up with a big play by getting the tying run out at home. The initial tag was missed, but Caden knew enough to go back and apply the tag after the runner missed the plate. The play of the game was made as second baseman Zach New robbed Curtis Errington on a line drive catch to end the game.
Andy Dupuis Salvage & Towing from Mexico and the Red Sox from Dixfield battled to a co-championship title in the major’s division of the Cal Ripken League. The first game was won by the Red Sox as Alex Gorham bested Dylan Blodgett on the mound in a 1-0 game. The lone run came in the second inning on a single by Chase Thebarge, scoring Jeremy St. Germain. Alex Gorham struck out 17 batters and at one point had 13 straight. Dylan Blodgett had eight strikeouts in the loss.
The second game was won by Dupuis Salvage as Ethan Labauskas outdueled Chase Thebarge in a 4-3 victory. Dupuis took an early lead in the first inning as Kyler Heinzen led off the game with a single, one of his three hits, and scored on a fielder’s choice to shortstop. In the third inning, the Red Sox took the lead back with two runs on a single by Degroot. Dupuis fought back with two runs of their own in the fourth on a double by Jack Lavorgna to take a 3-2 lead. Each team would score one more run to preserve the 4-3 win for Mexico.