It's Happening: Bridgeport's Sandlot and Y Generation Players

By Julie Perine on March 08, 2017 from It’s Happening via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Long before Bridgeport Recreation Complex came along and long before some of the Bridgeport’s Millennials stepped into executive, education and leadership positions, there was what many of the Y Generation would refer to as their very own sandlot.
 
Yes, before some of these young men played key roles in their community, they played T-ball in a recouped ball field behind Willis Avenue and adjacent to East Olive Street, where the Olive Garden Apartments are now located.
 
According to my husband Jeff – who co-coached one of the teams – the field – which had in prior years been a city ballfield – was revamped in the early 1980s so the littlest members of Bridgeport Little League would have a place to play and practice. He said it was Alden Rogers who brought in the equipment to prep and level the lot, after which the coaches and probably some parents seeded it and thereafter marked it and provided finishing touches.
 
We had only been married a few short years and had no children of ball-playing age, but Jeff - who had played Bridgeport Little League all the way up through Bridgeport High School baseball - was itching to get back in to the sport; thus he and my brother-in-law signed up to coach a team. It was a fun time in our lives and one which introduced us to some lifelong friends. And as we’ve gotten older, it’s not just the parents of those kids with whom we share friendships, but also the players of the teams coached throughout the course of a few years.
 
Meet some of the lineup:
 
Drew Pomeroy, vice president and head of strategic sales at CityNet, a provider of technology and telecommunications systems. Drew is president of the Greater Bridgeport Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors - and, in fact, one of my bosses. We believe Drew played second base. We're not sure - and neither is he.
 
Chris Kerr, software engineer at SRA International Software Development at the FBI CJIS Division. Chris, as Jeff remembers and not surprisingly, was pretty tall for his age. The coaches played him at first base.
 
“Robbie” Buffington, a special education teacher at Bridgeport Middle School, where he also coaches the BMS Braves Football Team. Robbie, as we all remember, was a ball of energy. Though his official position was shortstop, he played all over the field and could get there faster than the ball could travel through the air.
 
Chris Swiger, owner of CKS Pipeline Contracting in Jane Jew, where he also works the land and runs a farm and hosts the Annual Bull Ride at the Spiker Farm. Chris was tiny and a little timid, but he had plenty of know-how about the game. He played outfield.
 
I can still picture their smiling little faces under those huge black and yellow ball caps. They just wanted to play ball, but little did they know they were beginning a life of activity with the community. They started out with small swings and like all of us, have hit some foul balls in this game called life. But these kids – and many others – have certainly hit some proverbial homeruns. 
 
Editor's Note: If you played for one of these early T-ball teams, please comment on this story and we would love to see a picture if anyone happens to have one. 
 
Julie Perine can be reached at 304-848-8200, julie@connect-bridgeport.com or follow @JuliePerine on Twitter. More  "It's Happening" HERE.



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