Milford’s mother and daughter share World Series connection

It’s been almost a week since the Milford Little League Softball team clinched their ticket to the Little League Softball World Series. The feeling is still surreal for 11-year-old Riley Fagan-Davis.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Fagan-Davis said. “It’s amazing. I can’t believe this is all happening. When we get on the bus, we’ll talk about it the whole way.

The Milford team departs by bus Friday morning for Greenville, North Carolina, for the Little League Softball World Series. Milford, the New England champion, opens play Wednesday against a team to be determined.

This is the first time Little League team Milford (12) has qualified for the World Series.

For Fagan-Davis, it will be 29 years after her mother played in her own World Series.

Donna Fagan played college softball at UConn. She was a junior on the Huskies team that qualified for the 1993 College Softball World Series.

“Going to the College World Series as a Northeast team was unheard of,” Fagan said. “At UConn we didn’t have a lot of fans but when we went to Oklahoma (the series was held in Oklahoma City) there were thousands of people showing up for every game.”

It was the first – and only – time UConn reached the World Series. They were coached by Karen Mullins, who won 862 games in 31 years at the helm of the Huskies.

UConn was untouched in Game 1 by UCLA’s Lisa Fernandez – who went on to play for the Brakettes and the US Olympic team. The Huskies went on to defeat Florida State before being eliminated by Southwest Louisiana.

Fagan, a Norwalk native, returned to Storrs last year when that 1993 team was honored.

“One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is that we were a close-knit team. We were all friends, really close,” Fagan recalled. kind of reminds us of our World Series team.”

Fagan-Davis said, “It’s crazy to think that my mom and I will have the same experience. She talks about it often. »

Fagan-Davis has only been playing softball for a few years now.

“Well, at first I didn’t want to play softball. My mom said how amazing it was and all she had to do with softball,” Fagan-Davis said. “She was right, it’s a lot of fun. I’m glad I decided to start playing softball.

Another ironic twist is that Donna herself almost didn’t play softball. As she tells the story now decades later, she said Ray Barry, Norwalk High’s longtime softball coach, asked Fagan to try out for the team.

“I told him I wanted to work at the local supermarket,” she said. “I look back now and think, ‘What was I thinking? Softball got me into college. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I owe so much to softball because of the great coaches I had. … The friends I made in softball are friends I have for life. For Riley, through this softball experience, she made friends that she will have for life.

Last year, Donna coached her daughter to a state championship in the Milford Little League Farms division.

Current Milford Little League manager Mike Bonanno says Fagan-Davis is one of two 11-year-olds who were brought into the Little League team to find out what it’s like to to be under pressure and gain experience for next year’s all-star team. .

“Riley has been a great teammate. She always cheers on her teammates and she does her best at bat,” Bonanno said. “This (New England Regional) tournament was won by (the players) 6-13 ( on the list) That’s what we believe in and what we think we do better than anyone.

Riley will normally get one at bat per game – a pressure situation that takes some getting used to.

“The one at bat is stressful, but it’s always fun cheering on other teammates,” Riley said.

Fagan, who is Avangrid’s purchasing manager in Orange, will take time off next week and fly out with his wife Shelley to cheer on their daughter.

They will soon have World Series memories to share three decades apart.

“When you’re at the World Series, you don’t really stop to take a look because you’re so nervous about playing,” Fagan said. “I want her to stop, take a look and figure it all out. It’s something she will never forget. Enjoy it while you’re at it.

Fagan-Davis said, “It’ll be really fun to see how far we’ve come and how far we can go.”; @nhrJoeMorelli

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