Smithfield 8-10s claim District IV title

Smithfield 8-10s claim District IV title

The members of the Smithfield Little League’s ages 8-10 all-star baseball team that won the District IV championship last Saturday afternoon at Whipple Field are, in front from left, Royce Aglione, Brady McShane, Henry Begnoche, Gavin Cadoret, Rocco Presciutti, John Wozniak, Connor Curtis, Cameron Charlemagne, Gavin Gibree, Mason Dionne, Connor Queenan, and Franco Lema; in back, coach Guytano Aglione, manager Eric Gibree, and coach Steve Curtis.
All-stars topple Cumberland, battle Narragansett in Saturday’s state tourney opener

SMITHFIELD – Ten months after dominating the “Last Summer Swing” Tournament at Whipple Field, the Smithfield Little League’s Major Division ages 8-10 all-star baseball team was back in business in the District IV playoffs.

Needing to beat a team that defeated them during pool play, as well as overcome three rain delays in last Saturday afternoon’s championship game at Whipple Field, the all-stars to the occasion and put together a four-run rally in the top of the second inning that helped them capture a 5-3 victory over Cumberland that was their fourth win in five games.

The all-stars, whose roster features three-quarters of last year’s talented U9 squad, will advance to the double-elimination state tournament at Rumford’s Kimberly Rock Field and encounter District III champion Narragansett in its opening game on Saturday at noon.

District I champion Cranston Western and District II champ Darlington American will kick off Saturday’s action by battling each other at 10 a.m.

The action will continue the following day, with the losing teams fighting for their tournament lives 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. Should a winner-take-all game be needed, it will be held the following night.

In order to punch their tickets to the state playoffs, the all-stars needed to topple a team that posted an 8-2 victory over them six days earlier at Cumberland’s Garvin Field. Smithfield had outscored Lincoln and Woonsocket in its first two pool play games, 34-1, but were silenced by Cumberland pitcher Pedro Cardoso earlier last week.

While Cumberland earned the top seed in the semifinals last Wednesday, July 14, Smithfield faced the other 2-1 team in pool play, Lincoln, and picked up an 11-8 victory that sent the all-stars into the finals.

While that game started at 1 p.m., Smithfield manager Eric Gibree noted that he and his team didn’t complete the game until after 6 p.m., no thanks to the inclement weather that passed through the region a few times and continually halted play.

Cumberland took a 1-0 lead in the home half of the first inning on a passed ball that allowed Tim Bradley to score, but Smithfield answered back with its rally in the second.

With two gone, Franco Lema singled and Rocco Presciutti walked, and after both runners moved up a base on a passed ball, Gavin Cadoret singled in a run. An outfield miscue allowed Presciutti to score the tying run, and Henry Begnoche and Connor Curtis then followed with RBI singles.

Cumberland cut its deficit to a run by scoring twice in the bottom of that inning, but Smithfield tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Curtis delivered another run-scoring single to score Cadoret, who reached base on an infield error and took second on a passed ball.

While Mason Dionne, Curtis, and Begnoche led the way offensively with two hits each, Smithfield also received solid pitching from starting pitcher Brady McShane, who worked the first 3 2/3 innings to pick up the victory, and Dionne, who pitched the rest of the way to earn a save. They teamed up to throw a four-hitter and strike out five batters.