courtesy of Brett Poirier/Norwich Bulletin (August 9, 2010)
It was fitting that Billy Buscetto, Jr. crossed the plate for the game-winning run to end the Christopher Potvin Memorial Tournament at Dodd Stadium on Sunday. The CT Rebels defeated Groton by one run in the 15-U title game, 4-3. For Coach Bill Buscetto, Sr., the tournament championship was even more special as Christopher Potvin was one of his closest friends.
“It means a lot to me,” said Buscetto. “I’m still really close to the family, and I was extremely close to Chris.” Wayne Potvin, Chris’ father, runs the tournament each summer in his late son’s name. All of the money raised goes toward scholarships for local high school seniors. On Friday, Potvin will award $1,000 scholarships to 22 students on the field at Dodd Stadium.
The Rebels’ victory in the 15-U Championship game means the team will end baseball season on top. “This is the unofficial end of the baseball season,” said Buscetto.
The Potvin Tournament has become a tradition in eastern Connecticut. Winning the tournament gives teams in the area the ultimate bragging rights. It doesn’t hurt that the championship games are at Dodd Stadium. “You know if you play good all week, you’re going to be here for a championship game at Dodd Stadium,” said America’s Gamers 17-U coach Ron Serrano. Serrano will be back next year to coach his son’s 13-U team. He is not the only one already looking ahead to next year.
The 25th anniversary
Potvin said this year’s running was one of the best ever, but he is already brainstorming ideas for the 25th anniversary. Instead of just having the championship games at Dodd Stadium, Potvin is hoping to have the tournament there all week. His ultimate goal is to sell enough tickets to fill Dodd Stadium for the championship games. “There is no doubt in my mind that I will do that,” said Potvin.
The retired Potvin does most of the organizing himself. He sends out cards each year telling people about the scholarship fund and the tournament, and 100 percent of the money he receives goes toward the scholarships. He even buys the trophies himself. During the selection process, Potvin had two finalists for the final scholarship he had the funds to offer. He couldn’t decide between the two candidates, so he gave it to both of them. Potvin picked up the tab.
Potvin has also received help from local towns. Each year, several recreation departments and high schools allow Potvin to use their fields free-of-charge for the start of the tournament.
Upon inception, Potvin never thought the tournament would be as successful as it has become. He accepted 24 teams this year and turned away many others. He will give scholarships out on Friday and start building toward next year.