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West Hartford Youth Baseball Team Wins State Championship

The WHYBL 10U Bulldogs. Front row (from left): Elijah Wells, Jaden Kass, Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Benny White, Cooper Tantraporn, Jonah Balcerzak, Dom Trolio. Middle Row (from left): Chase Hanawalt, Tyler Redden, Mason Hebert, Bennet Bishop, Matt Oriola, Josh Shemanskis, Zach Goslee. Back Row (from left): Chris Redden (coach), Rob Hanawalt (manager), Kevin Hebert (coach), Winnie Tantraporn (coach). Submitted photo

The West Hartford Youth Baseball 10U team won the Cal Ripken state championship on Sunday.

Submitted by Rob Peterson

On a warm and Sunday in Hebron, CT, the West Hartford Youth Baseball 10-and-under Bulldogs – WHYBL’s travel team – defeated Newtown, 14-2, to take the Cal Ripken 10U state championship for Connecticut.

The win over Newtown capped an 11-0 run through the Cal Ripken tournaments at the district and state level. The championship was WHYBL’s third state title since 2011 and the first at the 10U level in the organization’s history.

Manager Rob Hanawalt noted the way the Bulldogs play and practice was a key to their run through the tournaments.

Our focus all year has been playing ‘hard, smart and fast,'” Hanawalt said. “We always talk about hard, smart, fast. This has almost become our identity as a team, how we always play and practice.

“It’s something we always point to when working with the players.”

Against Newtown, the Bulldogs put that practice theory to practice as they raced out to a 9-0 lead in the first inning. After Newtown added two in the second, the Bulldogs poured across five more runs to seal the championship.

The Bulldogs’ numbers so far this summer are impressive:

  • They have gone 18-2 overall in summer travel season and have won NEBJ Super East Memorial Day Tournament, 10U District 2 Championship and 10U State title.
  • Swept through districts in South Meriden and states in Hebron. At the state tourney, they outhit their opponents 43-16 and outscored them 42-11.

“This team has grown to know how to play for and support each other,” Hanawalt said. “We actually have not played a game yet firing on all cylinders. The special thing about this team is that if someone or a few players seem to be struggling, someone – and it’s really been someone different every night – steps up. It’s been amazing to see the teamwork develop here.”

Another reason the Bulldogs have been sharp is that they rarely miss practice time because of the weather.

“Our league’s investments in our players are paying off,” Hanawalt said. “Our indoor facility where we’ve had winter clinics and we haven’t had a practice rained out has helped us with our competitive advantage right there with all of the rain. We’ve also had a partnership with WIP, and it’s had our players better prepared this year.”

Next up for the Bulldogs is the New England Regional Championships in Marlborough, MA, from July 14-19. At stake: 10U World Series bid.

West Hartford’s first game is Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and you can find updates on WHYBL’s Facebook page or the league website whybaseball.com.

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