Smithfield exits District IV playoffs

Smithfield exits District IV playoffs

Cumberland American runner Jack LaRose, left, is an easy out at third base, as Smithfield third baseman Ryan Flynn gets ready to field the throw there and tag out LaRose in the top of the first inning of last Friday night’s District IV Major Division losers’ bracket game at Garvin Field. Cumberland American, which won the state title last season, ended up winning the contest, 9-2. (Observer photos by Kayla Panu)
Defending state champions eliminate Major Division ages 11-12 all-star team

CUMBERLAND – The Smithfield Little League’s Major Division all-star team took charge in the first inning of its District IV losers’ bracket game against defending state champion Cumberland American last Friday night, but the ages 11-12 all-stars couldn’t get anything else going after that and were ousted from the double-elimination tournament, 9-2.

Cumberland American southpaw Anthony Martin pitched a five-hitter that saw him strike out 11 batters and walk just one. Ryan Flynn left the yard with a two-run homer over the fence in center field in the bottom of the first, but that was all the scoring Smithfield could produce.

“(Martin) started mixing up hit pitches a little bit,” Smithfield manager Dennis Dwyer said after the defeat at Cumberland’s Garvin Field. “We’ve always been pretty good at hitting fastballs. He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, but he located it well, and then (Martin) started mixing in some curves and hitting his spots.

“They extended the zone a little bit – you could see the catcher setting up outside – and we had talked about going middle away, which is how you hit a left-handed pitcher, but he pitched well. We give him credit. They are a good team.”

Cumberland American, which was the away team, produced the game’s first run in the top of the field when Martin belted a double down the left-field line and scored on Jack LaRose’s single up the middle. But Smithfield struck back when Connor Caprio started things off with a base hit to left field and came home on Flynn’s homer.

Pitching for Smithfield was Lucas Swearad, who tossed a perfect second inning before finishing his night by working 3 1/3 innings and allowing six runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits that he gave up with a three-run homer by Andy Ray in the third that he hammered over the fence in left field to give Cumberland American a 4-2 lead.

After LaRose socked a solo home run later in the inning, Cumberland American added another run in the fourth. With Swearad out of the game, the defending state champs scored three more times by taking advantage of seven walks and only one hit.

Smithfield’s other players that collected hits, all singles, were Michael Sands, Jordan Hurst, and Garett Sala.

Throughout the tournament, Dwyer just wanted his players to have fun, but they kicked off the tourney on the wrong foot by falling to Burrillville, 5-0. In the losers’ bracket, they rebounded against Cumberland National, 3-1, but weren’t able to take their next game.

“The first game was really the key,” said Dwyer. “And I told everyone that. We needed to beat Burrillville. I knew if we lost to Burrillville, we’d have to play Cumberland National, which is a good team, and even if we got past that, we were getting the loser of the Cumberland American and Lincoln game. Either way we looked at it, we were getting a good team in that bracket.”

The ages 11-12 all-stars were one of four Smithfield Little League teams that took part in the District 4 tournament, with one of them, the Senior Division (ages 15-18) all-stars, reaching the championship game of its tourney before falling to Cumberland in the winner-take-all contest, 15-5.

The Major Division ages 8-10 all-stars battled back from a lopsided loss to Burrillville in their tournament opener to edge Woonsocket, 7-6, in their losers’ bracket opener last Saturday, and on Monday night, Smithfield stayed alive in the tourney by defeating Cumberland National, 5-2. Smithfield faced Lincoln in Wednesday night’s losers’ bracket final.

The Major Division ages 9-11 ballclub, meanwhile, only lasted two games in its tournament, as Smithfield lost to North Smithfield, 13-6, and Woonsocket, 11-4.

Smithfield starting pitcher Lucas Swearad gets ready to deliver a pitch to the plate during last Friday night’s District IV Major Division losers’ bracket game against Cumberland American at Garvin Field. Smithfield suffered a 9-2 loss to the defending state champions.