Before the Connecticut Tigers took on the Batavia Muckdogs on Sunday, Christopher Potvin Day was celebrated at Dodd Stadium. Wayne Potvin, father of the late Christopher Potvin, awarded 25 scholarships in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Christopher Potvin Baseball Tournament.
Wayne Potvin handed out 25 $1,000 scholarships to local student-athletes looking to further their education. He works throughout the year to raise the money and estimates that he has given out around $310,000 since starting the Christopher Potvin Fund. “It’s super to do stuff like this and (Sunday) makes it all worthwhile,” Wayne Potvin said.
The 25th annual baseball tournament started on Saturday and is expected to finish up on Thursday with the championship games at Dodd Stadium. This year’s tournament includes 13U, 15U, 17U and 19U teams. It will include 30 teams, mostly from Southeastern Connecticut. “We started out with a baseball tournament with just six teams and it has just grown, and grown, and grown, and we are very proud of that,” Christine Potvin, wife of Wayne Potvin, said.
Christine stood alongside her husband on the first base line as they handed out scholarships on Sunday. “It actually felt wonderful to see all of those young people out there looking to move forward in life with a nice college scholarship,” she said. “We are very proud of our son. I’m also very proud of my husband for putting in so much hard work and never taking any credit.”
All proceeds from the baseball tournament go toward scholarships, but the biggest contributions over the years have been through the cards Wayne Potvin mails out. He said around $15,000 is raised through mail-in contributions.
The late Jack McDonald was also honored in pre-game ceremonies. McDonald served on the tournament Board of Directors and also umpired many of the games. “Jack was on our Board of Directors and every game he ever umped — and, believe me, there were many of them — he sent the money back,” Wayne Potvin said.
McDonald, father of Toronto Blue Jays player John McDonald, supported Wayne Potvin for years. Wayne Potvin has also had a lot of help from the community, which has donated money, and many towns have allowed the tournament to play on its fields for free.
Games will also be held in Groton, Stonington, Waterford and East Lyme before finishing up in Norwich at Dodd Stadium on Thursday, which is always a treat for the players involved.