Darlington American wins ages 8-10 title

Darlington American wins ages 8-10 title

District II champs face Cranston Western in state tourney opener Saturday in Rumford

PAWTUCKET – “Pawtucket’s Team” is heading to the state tournament. The Darlington American Little League’s Major Division ages 8-10 all-star baseball team, which also contains a handful of players from the city’s other two Little Leagues, Pineview and Fairlawn, handily captured the District II championship last Friday night by rolling to its third straight mercy-rule victory, a 10-0 win over Rumford at Slater Park’s Cosimini Field that was halted after five innings.

Darlington American had kicked off the tournament on Saturday, July 10, at Slater Park by downing Rumford, 11-1, in five innings, and two nights later at Middletown’s Aquidneck Elementary School, the Pawtucket ballclub vaulted into the championship round by cruising past Middletown, 11-1, in four innings.

“This year is special because we can truly say that we are playing for Pawtucket,” Darlington American manager P.J. Shea wrote in an email to the Valley Breeze. “This team is made up of players from the Darlington American, Pineview, and Fairlawn Little Leagues; it’s truly a cross section of the city. The greatest part is if you were to come to one of our practices or into our dugout, you would think they have been playing together in one Little League for years.”

Darlington American’s reward for taking the district title is a spot in the double-elimination state tournament at Rumford’s Kimberly Rock Field. DALL will open the tournament by facing District I champion Cranston Western on Saturday at 10 a.m., while District III champion Narragansett and District IV champ Smithfield will play each other at noon.

The tournament will continue the following day, with the losing teams playing at 10 a.m., and the winners colliding at noon. The losers’ bracket final is scheduled for next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., while the championship game is next Thursday at 5:30 p.m. If a winner-take-all game is needed, it will be held the following night.

In last Saturday’s championship game, Darlington American received outstanding pitching from its starter, Sam Waterman, who blanked Rumford for the first three innings, and Eli Quackenbush, who struck out five of the six batters he faced in his two innings of work. Offensively, Philip Shea enjoyed his best game of the tournament by going 4-for-4 with a double and scoring four times, and Gabe Ferreira also singled, doubled, and drove in three runs.

In Darlington American’s first victory over Rumford, DALL sent Ferreira, Braydon Beaudreau, and Quackenbush to the mound, and they teamed up to pitch a superb one-hitter. The winners needed those strong efforts, because after four innings of play, they were unable to get on the scoreboard. But in the fifth inning, DALL produced all its runs by marching 13 batters to the plate, and leading the charge was Ferreira, who legged out a two-run triple and followed that with a bases-clearing double.

Patrick Shea led off the inning with a base hit and added a single in his next at-bat, and also reaching base twice in the inning was Russell Strickland and Philip Shea. Beaudreau also socked a two-run double to bolster the rally.

The win over Middletown saw Beaudreau and Ferreira team up to pitch a two-hitter, and Beaudreau, Ferreira, and Quackenbush highlight the offense by collecting two hits apiece and reaching base in all three of their plate appearances. Beaudreau and Ferreira each collected a two-run double and a run-scoring single, and Quackenbush added a two-run triple.

Left fielder Lijah Rivera also put an exclamation point on the victory by making a sliding catch for the final out of the game.