Final totals from TRF Wiffle Ball Tournament

Published: Aug. 15, 2017 at 9:44 PM EDT
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Another tremendous fundraising effort and thrilling competition on the field highlighted the 16th annual Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE Ball Tournament held at Pat and Beth O'Connor's three backyard fields, Little Fenway, Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams this past weekend, August 11-13, 2017.

The 34-team event held this past weekend, August 11-13, 2017, brought in $585,496, the second-highest total in history, to lift the 16-year total to well over the $4.6 million-dollar amount. It also marked the third time in the last four years the Vermont backyard event raised over a half-million dollars.

All funds go to the Travis Roy Foundation that benefits and creates awareness for people with spinal cord injuries, and is named after the former Boston University men's hockey player who resides with his family in nearby Malletts Bay in Colchester each summer.

‘What keeps me moving is the energy that builds from this weekend,' said Roy in his inspirational remarks at Saturday's 'Money Count' announcement. ‘There are good days and bad days for any of us who are paralyzed. But for me, there are few better days than this weekend when it all comes to a pinnacle. It’s really fun to know the great effort by everyone this weekend to help find a way to help our foundation. I lose words when trying to define what it means for the all of the people and families that we can help, and the hope that it provides for all of us. I want to thank everyone involved from the bottom of my heart.'

The generosity from this event and others by the Travis Roy Foundation has made an immediate impact on the lives of many individuals. Since the 2016 tourney, the foundation has committed $350,000 to fund spinal cord injury research, and over $400,000 in adaptive equipment grants to enhance the lives of people and families affected by spinal cord injuries.

Tournament director, host and found Pat O'Connor echoed Roy's remarks and was gracious for the great efforts of the supporters, participants, volunteers and neighbors. 'It takes a great community effort to put on this ever-growing and expanding event, and I'm proud that no one leaves here without having fun,' said O'Connor.

For the second straight year a local Vermont team won the tournament title in Sunday’s thrilling playoffs as six of the nine games in the bracket were one-run decisions or won in walk-off fashion. Williston-based HOTDAM won its third title overall and its first since 2003 winning an exciting championship game, 6-5, over the Jackhammers of Braintree, Mass., who were bidding for a record fourth title. Led by tournament MVP Tucker Kolasch of Williston, HOTDAM scored twice with two outs in the bottom of the final inning after the Jackhammers, who previously trailed all game, took a one-run advantage down to their last out in the top half of the seventh.

Other annual award winners were Carney Daniels of Essex Junction, Vt. and the Buckners and jetBlue earned the Tommy Long Sportsmanship Award; Maine-native Tony McNaboe of the Hardshells picked up the Kim Trahan Fundraising Leadership Award; McNaboe’s team, the Hardshells of Yarmouth, Maine, made up of many boyhood friends of Travis Roy, won the Fan Club Award as the top fundraising raising over $50,000. John Pelkey of Montpelier and Lee Roy, father of Travis Roy, were inducted into the Little Fenway Hall of Fame for their efforts developing and maintaining the three wiffleball fields.

The tournament began Friday with the opening ceremonies and the annual Celebrity-Sponsor game. Many Vermont current and past sports legends were on hand to play including former UVM hoop standout Taylor Coppenrath; former LPGA tour golfer and UVM basketball star Libby Smith; former Spaulding High and UNH football star David Ball; UNH and Richford (Vt.) distance running champion Elle Purrier; Middlebury College basketball All-American Matt St. Amour of Swanton; and St. Lawrence defenseman Ben Finkelstein of South Burlington, a draftee of the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Others included noted baseball historian and author Glenn Stout; local media members Alex Abrami of the Burlington Free Press, Mike McCune of WCAX TV, Steve Cormier of RadioVermont, Tom Messner and Ken Drake of WPTZ TV; UVM Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman; Vermont Lake Monsters GM Joe Doud; baseball executive David Dittman; and WIFFLE Inc. CEO Dave Mullany, the grandson of the inventor of WIFFLE Ball.