Tiverton Little League awarded three scholarships and two community service awards as part of its annual Pesky Peckham 9U baseball tournament in July.
College scholarships were given to Colbi Alverez, who plans to attend Franklin Pierce University in thefall; Nicole Vaillancourt, who will attend Arizona State University; and William Blake, who will attend Bristol Community College. Each recipient played baseball or softball for Tiverton Little League and attended Tiverton High School.
“It’s an honor to support the education of these Tiverton ball players and students,” said Tiverton Little League President, Claudia Linhares. The $1,000 scholarships were entirely funded by registration fees paid by the participating teams.
The Arthur “Ozzie” Linhares Award was given to Steven Gacioch.
The Heather Daniels Award went to Mandy Silveira. These awards are given to the 12-year-old softball and baseball players who demonstrated the highest combination of excellence on the field and exemplary sportsmanship qualities during the 2012 Little League season. Factors such as attendance, enthusiasm, support to teammates, personal character, adherence to team rules, fairness, and ethical conduct on and off the field are highly considered.
The 2012 tournament attracted 16 teams, the largest number in its 11 years. In addition to local entries from Tiverton and Little Compton, other teams travelled from as far as Martha’s Vineyard and Holland, Pennsylvania, to participate in what has become one of the region’s premier youth baseball tournaments.
According to Linhares, the Pesky Peckham tournament differs from other summer all-star tournaments in several ways.
Although a champion is crowned and trophies are awarded, Pesky Peckham is a “friendly” tournament, in which competition is downplayed in favor of sportsmanship, fun, and community-building.
“You almost never hear arguments with the umpires, and the goal is for everyone to go home happy, whether they win or lose,” said Linhares.
“We’ve been very successful at stressing fun over competition,” says Tom Perella, TLL vice-president and tournament director. Players are introduced before each game and every time they come up to bat. Between innings, lively music is played on sound systems at each of the three fields at Town Farm.
The participating teams appreciate the positive and friendly atmosphere. The manager of the Rumford team said.
“Our boys had a great time in this well run tourney. We especially enjoyed the hospitality," he said.
The Pesky Peckham tournament is more than a series of baseball games, said Perella. It takes a community-wide effort to run a tournament of this size. The Tiverton Recreation Committee supported the tournament by designating use of Town Farm for the weekend, but the work was done entirely by about seventy-five volunteers. Their labor begins more than a week before the tournament with the grooming of fields.
“LaPointe Field got a facelift this year,” said Perella. “It looks better than it has in years."
During the tournament, volunteers staff the concession stands, serve as umpires, keep score, announce the games, answer questions, give directions to local businesses, and keep the old lawn tractors running. In addition, Tiverton students earned more than 325 community service hours by raking and lining fields, running errands, and pulling wagons loaded with cold drinks and slices of watermelon to sell to spectators.
“Obviously, we can’t do this without the help of volunteers,” said Linhares. “The number of people who give up their entire weekend to the tournament is one of the things that makes it special. Of course, we can always use more help.”
The Pesky Peckham Tournament also provides a boost to the local economy. Nearly 200 players participated in the tournament this year, said Perella.
“When you add parents and coaches, that’s a lotof people coming to Tiverton.”
The mother of a player from the Pennsylvania team said agreed.
“I came herefor three things, the beaches, seafood, and the great ice cream that I’ve been hearing about.,” she said.
After a moment of thought, she added, “I came to watch my son play baseball too.”
The Pesky Peckham Tournament is named in honor of late longtime Tiverton Little League coach Prescott “Pesky” Peckham. Many of his sons, daughters, and grandchildren have since played baseball or softball for Tiverton Little League.
Several members of the Peckham family were on hand to take part inthe final events of the weekend, the awarding of trophies and the presentation of college scholarships and league sportsmanship awards.
Swansea Independent Baseball League won the tournament championship, and Narragansett Little League took home the runner-up trophies.
For more information about the Pesky Peckham tournament, including photographs and results of every game, the scholarship program, and registration for the upcoming fall season, please visit the Tiverton Little League website.