WOODSTOCK — The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted Tuesday evening to donate $1,000 to the Tri-County Babe Ruth League to help send its all-star team to Jamestown, N.Y., for the Babe Ruth World Series.
Coach Gary Williamson said that there are 10 teams in the Tri-County Babe Ruth League featuring 13-year-old children from several local towns, including Woodstock, Rumford, Oxford, Bethel, West Paris and Minot.
At the end of the season, Williamson said that he decided to pick 11 or 12 kids to play on an all-star team and to enter the state of Maine district tournament.
“They ended up winning that tournament, and moved on to the state of Maine and New England regional tournament, where the best teams from here to Rhode Island compete,” Williamson said. “Our kids have done a phenomenal job. We’ve outscored the other teams throughout these tournaments, 68 to 19, and we went through the first two tournaments without losing a game.”
Williamson said that the team was invited to participate in the Babe Ruth World Series in Jamestown, N.Y., where they’ll face off against a team from California in a stadium that seats 4,300 people.
“It’s the chance of a lifetime,” he said.
However, he told the Board of Selectmen Tuesday evening that the team had to pick up a majority of the tab for the trip.
“It costs $250 for a hotel room down there,” Williamson said to the board. “The total cost for everything combined would be $26,500.”
Williamson said that the Babe Ruth organization normally pays to fly the entire team to Jamestown.
“The organization doesn’t pay for the parents to fly, so the parents are going to be driving their kids to New York,” Williamson said. “Since we won’t be paying for travel expenses, we asked the organization if they’d just give us cash instead of the plane tickets. They said yes.”
The cash from the plane tickets amounted to $5,500, and Williamson said that the team has raised “around $8,000 or $9,000.”
“We still have a little ways to go, and you guys donated money for the team to go to the regional tournament,” Williamson said. “I’m just here to see if you have anything else. We really appreciate everything you’ve done for the team.”
Selectman Mike Nadeau said that going to the Babe Ruth World Series would be the “opportunity of a lifetime” for the kids and “something they’ll never forget.”
“I wouldn’t mind donating another $500 to the team,” he said.
Selectman Stephen Bies said that he would consider donating a higher amount.
“I don’t normally do that,” Bies said as the other selectmen laughed. “I’d make a motion that we take $800 from the Recreation savings account and give it to the Babe Ruth League.”
After Chairman Ron Deegan seconded Bies’ motion, he said, “Now that we can discuss the matter, I’m going to recommend that we raise it. Let’s make it $1,000. We know that the total amount is $26,500. One thousand dollars would go a long way towards helping.”
Bies and Nadeau quickly agreed, and they voted to give $1,000 to Williamson’s team.