Manchester Little League brings back Michael Briggs Tournament

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Devon Lafferty of Bedford running in the base relay race at Precourt Park. Photo/Ryan Lessard

MANCHESTER, NH – After a five-year hiatus, Little League baseball teams are squaring off again in the annual Michael Briggs Wooden Bat Tournament.

Saturday marked the mid-point of the two-week tournament held at Precourt Park with a skills competition that pitted individual players from each team against the others to find out who earned the most points in a running relay, a throwing relay, an accuracy throwing competition and a home run derby.

Manchester Police Officers Justin Maguire (left) and Tom Whelan (right) greeting players after throwing ceremonial pitches. Photo/Ryan Lessard

“Bringing this event back was very important to the league as it allows us to show support for past and present police officers who risk their lives every day,” said Manchester Little League President Nick “Sully” Sullivan. “This tournament also has special meaning to our district administrator who played a critical part in starting this back up.”

District administrator Sally Dreckmann said the tournament was started in honor of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs in 2007, a year after he was shot and killed while on duty. The last year the tournament was held was in 2015.

Isaiah Luddy of Manchester Blue throwing in the accuracy throw challenge. Photo/Ryan Lessard

So far in the tournament, the team from Auburn is in first place, followed by Bedford (both Auburn and Bedford have red uniforms). The Manchester Blue team and Manchester Green team are tied for third.

During the skills competition Saturday, Auburn dominated, winning first place in three out of the four competitions. Manchester Green won the throwing accuracy challenge, which involved three players throwing a ball from the outfield into a bin at home plate.

Auburn made the best time in the baserunning relay with 30.4 seconds, and the best time in the throwing relay with 28.8 seconds.

In the home run derby, Auburn hit five home runs, Bedford hit 3, Manchester Green hit zero and Manchester Blue hit 1.

Group shot of all four teams at the end of the day’s events. Photo/Ryan Lessard

Bedford was awarded second place in all four challenges. 

“It’s exciting,” said father Kapil Jain of Bedford.

Jain said his son, Ishan Jain, 12, competed in the throwing accuracy competition. He was so enthusiastic about competing Saturday that he chose to compete over a party he was invited to. 

About midway through the competition, two Community Policing officers from Manchester Police Department, Oficers Tom Whelan and Justin Maguire, threw ceremonial pitches and greeted the players. 

The final score was 95 points for Auburn, 88 for Bedford, 81 for Manchester Green and 78 for Manchester Blue.

Trophies were awarded for the first and second place winners.