Dramatic Ending at Wiffleball Tourney

ELLINGTON – The  Second Annual Austin Tautkus/Troy Russell Wiffleball Tournament Fundraiser ended in dramatic fashion Sunday  as Danny Hayes’ sacrifice fly scored Daniel McPartland with the winning run to help Team EHS defeat the EWBL All-Stars 2-1 in nine innings Sunday.

The title game was scheduled for just six innings, but it took an extra three to determine a champion. Adam Zylberman led off the game for the EWBL All-Stars by hitting the first pitch for a home run over right field fence.  Team EHS – comprised of former Ellington High varsity baseball players, scratched across a run of its own in the second inning to tie the score 1-1.  It remained tied until the ninth, but there was plenty of drama in between.

A near home run by EWBL’s Art Allegra was ruled foul in the fourth inning and in the top of the 6th, Team EHS center fielder Nick Varney made a leaping catch at the fence in right center to rob Erick Knickerbocker of a home run. Brian Fitzsimons of Team EHS nearly ended the game with in the 7th and 8th innings with hard liners off the top of  the Green Monster but had to settle for singles both times.

The tournament is a fundraiser for the families of two former Ellington High School student athletes.  Troy Russell was a star baseball player and two sport athlete before suffering a spinal cord injury in a swimming accident back in 2012. Austin Tautkus played football, basketball and baseball at EHS. He went on to play one season of football at Western Connecticut State University after graduating from EHS in 2013.  Tautkus was tragically killed in a work related accident at the family farm in the summer of 2014.

Proceeds from the tournament are donated to the families to help with Russell’s continuing physical rehabilitation as well as to benefit a memorial scholarship in Tautkus’ name at Ellington High School.

The weekend began with pool play on Friday and the official Opening Ceremonies were held on Saturday as members of the Tautkus and Russell Families joined State Representative Christopher Davis in throwing out the first pitch.  Members of the winning team in 2014 were invited to sign their names on the right field foul pole. Pool play continued throughout the day on Saturday as teams from Ellington and a number of neighboring towns battled for one of the four spots in Sunday’s playoffs.

Hundreds of people showed up throughout the three-day event to show their support for the two families and area businesses contributed with donations for fence signs, raffle prizes and food for the concession stand.  The tournament organizing committee would like to thank all of those businesses as well as the members of the community who came out to the watch some of the action and made donations either on site or online. In addition a very special thanks to recent EHS graduate Jon Bailey-Francois for providing all of the music throughout the weekend as well as WFSB Channel 3 and John Holt for the wonderful story that he ran about the tournament – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyBFs5EHcz8

The online donation page is still active and anyone wishing to contribute to this very worthwhile cause may do so at http://www.youcaring.com/tautkus-memorial-scholarship-fund-russell-rehabilitation-fun-402435

DSC_0197 Game winning run Pete Rose slide Welcome HomeRun Troy Russell addresses the crowd DSC_0184 Gonna be close at home Katie Tautkus DSC_0146 First Pitch Aerial Shot Coach Tautkus fires home DSC_0175 DSC_0221 DSC_0197 DSC_0200 DSC_0223 DSC_0218 State Rep Christopher Davis addresses the crowd The littlest fan National Anthem gone to the dogs Gerber swings Defending Champs sign the foul pole DJI_0009Roundin third Three musketeersTheChamps

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