Boston High School: Beth Paul

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
2:48
PM ET
Maybe defending Division I baseball champion Cranston West was devastated by graduation. But if the Falcons’ season opener was any indication, they’re not exactly going to fly meekly into the night.

Rhode IslandToll Gate led Cranston West 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth when Joe Nicolace tied the score with a single and winning pitcher Bryan Stetson (who relieved starter Rich Reo in the top of the seventh) drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the winning run.

Still, coach Rob Malo faces a major challenge in that his complete starting lineup departed via the cap-and-gown route last spring.

What’s noteworthy about Cranston West’s success is that the Falcons have won three of the last six Division I state titles and broken the stranglehold Hendricken had on the championship trophy.

Perhaps the one team that might be favored to win the state title is North Kingstown – a feat the Skippers last accomplished 44 years ago.

North Kingstown will be led by First Team All-State third baseman Chris Hess who drove in 42 runs in 29 overall games plus first baseman Jared Habershaw who plated 41 runs and sophomore pitcher Dom Grillo who was 7-0 in his first season on the varsity.

The Skippers last season advanced to the third game of the best-of-three finals only to be torched 18-7 by the Falcons.

CLIPPERS IN SAME POSITION AS FALCONS
Cumberland’s softball team can sympathize with the Cranston West baseball team in that the Clippers annexed their first Division I state championship and then were wiped out by graduation.

Cumberland coach Marty Crowley lost a trio of All-State selections – pitcher Beth Paul, catcher Krissey Peffer and second baseman Christina Speroni.

In addition, junior All-State outfielder Bridget Connors will be sidelined for the season after suffering a knee injury.
The only senior on the team is third baseman Rebecca Geddes.

IMPRESSIVE START
Middletown’s McKenna Barlow was a one-girl wrecking crew as the Islanders blanked Rogers, 12-0, in the Division II-South opener for both teams.

Barlow not only pitched a no-hitter, replete with nine strikeouts. But she also went 3-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

June, 21, 2011
6/21/11
1:43
PM ET
Cranston West’s baseball team picked the right time to unleash an offensive explosion -- in the third and deciding game of the Division I tournament.

Rhode IslandThe fourth-seeded Falcons were held to three hits by top-seeded North Kingstown in Game 1 of the teams’ best-of-three series which the Skippers won, 5-3.

But in the next two games, the Falcons hung a total of 35 runs on the McCoy Stadium scoreboard to capture their third state championship in the last six years. In the process, Cranston West snapped Hendricken’s run of three consecutive titles.

West’s Matt Pagano, who was voted MVP honors, lit the spark in Game 2 as he homered and drove in a total of six runs as the Falcons prevailed, 17-13.

Then, in the deciding game, Pagano tossed 5 1/3 innings of one-run, seven-hit relief as the Falcons belted the Skippers, 18-7.

West’s triumph prevented the Skippers from winning their first Division I title in 44 years.

Mike Hayden also unloaded on North Kingstown pitching in Game 3 when he hit two homers which drove in four runs.

Among other things, the Falcons prevailed in a trio of deciding games during the tournament and became the only other public school to win a state Division I baseball championship since South Kingstown did so in 2002.

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