Pineview advances in District II playoffs

Pineview advances in District II playoffs

Pineview second baseman Brayden Slack, right, tries to tag out Rumford runner James Lynch, who slides into second with a double in the second inning of last week’s District II winners’ bracket semifinal-round playoff game. Slack’s three-run homer in the sixth inning gave Pineview an 8-6 lead and helped his team advance to Tuesday night’s showdown against Riverside. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Slack’s homer leads all-stars past Rumford, into winners’ bracket finals

PAWTUCKET – Brayden Slack’s three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning lifted the Pineview Little League Major Division (ages 11 and 12) all-star baseball team to a dramatic 8-6 victory over Rumford last Tuesday, July 2, and a spot in the winners’ bracket finals of the double-elimination District II playoffs.

Pineview, which kicked off the tournament on June 27 with a 6-4 win over Middletown, was scheduled to host Riverside on Tuesday night, with the winner of that showdown moving just one win away from winning the district title.

“I think this is the furthest Pineview has made it in the winner’s bracket in a very, very long time,” said Pineview manager Jay Tremblay. “We have the team that can go far, but we also have a team that could go two and barbecue.”

When Rumford scored twice in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 6-5 lead, there were a lot of grim faces on the Pineview bench. With a push from their coaches, the Pineview kids realized that the game was not yet over as they went to bat in the top of the sixth.

Ethan Torres and Cameron Force led off the inning with walks. Slack was reinserted back into the lineup, and on a 2-1 pitch, he drove the ball over the center-field fence as the Pineview bench exploded.

“I was explaining to the kids that when you’re sitting on the bench, you have to be paying attention to the game,” Tremblay said. “You have to be involved. (Slack) didn’t swing for the fence; he just hit it like he normally does, and that’s what happened. He’s a great hitter, and anyone on this team can do it.”

Torres then sealed the victory on the mound in the bottom of the sixth by pitching a 1-2-3 inning with a groundout to the shortstop, a strikeout, and a lineout to short.

“Ethan Torres is one of our top pitchers,” Tremblay said. “We pitched him last game. I was waiting to see when to put him in and that was the right time.”

Down 4-2 after four innings, Pineview struck in the fifth, when with one out and Force on first, Cameron Daley walked and Jace AbiAad doubled to right-center to drive in Force. Logan Magras tied the game by bringing in Daley with a line single up the middle, and AbiAad came home on a close play at the plate on a fielder’s choice grounder to first by Noah Ferreira.

“This was our most intense game so far,” Tremblay said. “In our first game, we were leading, and then (Middletown took the lead), but we came back to win. We have a great hitting team and (Rumford) has a great hitting team, so I knew this was going to be a battle.”

While Pineview advanced in the tournament, Darlington American and Fairlawn were eliminated from it after just two games. Darlington American fell to Riverside, 8-4, and Middletown, 6-0, and Fairlawn lost to Middletown, 13-1, and Newport, 14-3.