Howard Rogers joins Senior Division ranks

Howard Rogers joins Senior Division ranks

Howard Rogers batter Bam Ribeiro, who starred for the Shea High baseball team, hits a double down the left-field line during last Wednesday’s doubleheader against New England Frozen Lemonade. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
American Legion team looks to ‘piece it together’ against veteran competition

PAWTUCKET – Jim LaRose decided last year to bring the Howard Rogers Post 25 baseball team back to Pawtucket, as well as the R.I. American Legion ranks, after a nearly two-decade absence.

And after enjoying a successful season as a Junior Division team, Howard Rogers is now fielding a Senior Division team that contains several high school players from the city that came back for another year of summer baseball, as well as its Junior Division ballclub.

LaRose manages the team, along with his two brothers, Jeff and John, and Pawtucket native and Tolman alum Cory Morel, who is also the head coach of the Junior Division team.

“Our junior team from last year is actually now our senior team,” Morel added. “We’re very young. We only have one 18-year-old (player) and the rest are 17 and 16, so we’re facing all pretty much 18 and 19-year-old teams.”

There are 15 players on both rosters for Howard Rogers, and some returnees who have gone up to the Senior Division team are St. Raphael Academy’s A.T DiPina, East Providence’s Evan French, and Shea’s Brandon Ribeiro, Jacob Faria and Manny Ortiz.

The program takes players from Pawtucket, Central Falls, the Providence area, and East Providence, and while Morel said they do not have any players from Central Falls this season, they do have a Cumberland transplant in Trey Thibeault, as well as a player from Cranston, Henry Stanton.

Another new player to the team who played for Shea is Ian Montanez. Morel said he came from Puerto Rico and is playing third base on the senior team as a freshman.

As for pitching, the team’s number one pitcher is SRA lefty Adam Gomes, with Thibeault being the two. Morel said that Gomes was the winning pitcher is both of the team’s victories – Post 25 entered Monday night’s action with a 2-7 record – and Thibeault will also play some first base.

Last Wednesday night at Vets Park, Howard Rogers took the field for a doubleheader against Warwick’s New England Frozen Lemonade, but lost both games by scores of 11-1 and 4-1.

In the opening game, Ribeiro was at first while Thibeault was pitching. Ortiz caught for him, but when Gomes pitches, DiPina will be behind the plate.

Brandon Landry will also play first, and Eddison Ramos, a returnee from Hope High, is the team’s starting second baseman. Among the new additions are Tolman shortstop Lonnie Santiago and third baseman Aaron Carrion.

As for the outfield, it features French is right, Davies player Nick Rossi in center, and Stanton in left. Sean Filipe was in right in last Wednesday’s opener.

Despite his team’s losing record, Morel said the team is focused more on building up its team than wins and losses. He said that the team is already looking better and should improve as the season goes on, as well as next year.

“(This is a) new franchise; we’re not in it to win it right now,” he said. “We’re looking at a three- to five-year span. We’re very young. Our biggest loss so far was against Cranston’s team, and their entire team is college freshmen. We were overpowered.”

Howard Rogers, which was scheduled to play Scituate Post 19 on Tuesday night at Manning Field, is also slated to play a doubleheader against Navigant Post 85 on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Renaud Field, as well as two games against another first-year team, Smithfield/North Providence Post 29, on Saturday at 4 p.m. at North Providence High.

“We play with a lot of heart,” Morel said. “A .500 season would be optimal for us this year. We have about 13 more games left, I believe, and we’re in good shape. We’re getting better, and we’re starting to piece it together and become more of a team.”

Howard Rogers runner Henry Stanton, right, dives back to first base on a pickoff attempt.