Wednesday Morning Summer Baseball Field Trip Featuring Brockton Rox vs Norwich Sea Unicorns

by Nick Lemley

Wednesday morning, July 13, I got to experience a game at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT between the Norwich Sea Unicorns and Brockton Rox. Dodd is home to both the Norwich Sea Unicorns of the Futures League and the Mystic Schooners of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. It was also home to one of the Detroit Tigers Minor League affiliates (the Connecticut Tigers) before becoming the Norwich Sea Unicorns.

Wednesday’s game had a start time of 11:00am, which is much earlier than most games.  Part of the reason for the early start time was to allow for local summer camps to attend the game as a field trip. As for me, the drive up to the park was very easy. It was an hour and half up I95 and 395, and at 10 am there wasn’t much traffic. Upon arriving at the stadium, there were a fleet of school buses with kids from area summer camps. Not only did I attend day camps like the ones I saw when I was younger attending the game but I was also a camp counselor at them for years and when I saw that this was a trip for them I was jealous. I would have loved this kind of trip as a kid or even a counselor!

The entrance leading up to Dodd Stadium and the stadium itself was very clean. I loved how you could see the field from the concourse while getting concessions and the field itself was in great condition. On the end of the 1st baseline, there was a shack that sold adult beverages, a gazebo and a patch of grass behind the bullpen which looked like people could sit on. On the 3rd baseline there was a grill area that had picnic benches and covered seating as well as another patch of grass for people to sit on. 

The environment at the game was great. Kids were constantly cheering and chirping at the pitchers.  Kids will be kids – they may have overused some lines but it was very entertaining. In-between innings the song choices being played over the stadium sound system had the kids singing and dancing. 

One of the main attractions this summer (it has drawn national media attention) has been the Brockton Rox lineup, which includes the sons of former Boston Red Sox players – Manny Ramirez Jr, D’Angelo Ortiz, Pedro Martinez Jr, Kade Foulke in addition to former MLB star Gary Sheffield’s son – Jaden Sheffield. In this game however only Manny Ramirez Jr. and Jaden Sheffield played. Both Manny Ramirez Jr. and Jaden Sheffield had 1 hit in 5 at bats. On top of getting to see the sons of some Red Sox players, I also got to see Ryan Donnelly, a Fairfield, CT native (my hometown) and Sacred Heart University player hit a 2 run homer putting the Rox up 3-1 in the 5th inning.

For the Norwich Sea Unicorns, Zac Zyons, a RI native from South Kingstown and Bryant University Bulldog started the game at 3rd base. This summer is Zyon’s first organized baseball since August of last year after suffering a torn labrum. He redshirted his freshman year at Bryant and is now playing with the Norwich Sea Unicorns to prepare himself for his first season of collegiate play. Wednesday’s game produced a few extra bruises for Zac on offense, getting hit by two pitches, one on his first plate appearance in the 3rd inning, and another in the 8th. He recorded a RBI walk in the 6th inning and hit a pop fly in 5th. Zyons played a solid defensive 3rd base. In the end, The Brockton Rox got the win over the Norwich Sea Unicorns 7-6.

Everything about the game on Wednesday was great. It was cool getting to see a day game when most summer league games are held at around 6pm. The environment was great, Dodd Stadium was incredible, and hearing all the kids getting excited made my time there more enjoyable. And while I am not a Boston Red Sox fan (Go Yankees), it was really cool to see the kids of former MLB players take the field.

Baseball Parks, Fields, and Complexes New England Collegiate Baseball League News Nick Lemley Sports Youth Baseball News

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The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.

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