Boston High School: Colin Costa

East Providence (R.I.) takes first baseball title

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
6:15
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In the illustrious history of East Providence High sports, the Townies had won a total of 14 state championships prior to this academic year. State championship banners in sports like football, hockey and volleyball adorned the walls in the school’s gym.

Rhode IslandBut what was lacking was a state championship banner in baseball.

The Townies under third-year head coach Bobby Rodericks (EP Class of ’98) rectified that situation last week when it beat North Smithfield 5-2 and 3-1 in the best-of-three finals for the Division II state championship.

“Coaching is my life and it was my goal to win a state title,” said Rodericks who played baseball for the Townies in the 1990s. “I was a captain. I wanted to win a state title for us. Knowing we never had a banner in the school, when I got hired my assistant coach (Chris Kennedy) and I said in three years we’re going to turn around this program and win a state title.

“It wasn’t easy. It was frustrating knowing we didn’t have (a state baseball championship) but it was a relief when I got hired. Two years ago in Barrington I took over the wrestling team and went from worst to first so I know what it takes.

“I stick to my routines,” continued Rodericks, “and I’m hard in terms of the physical and mental aspects.”

Not only did the Townies win the first state baseball championship in school history but, in the process, they also set a school record for victories in the sport by posting a 22-3 overall record. And their 14-2 regular-season record tied for the best overall mark among the state’s 27 Division 2 teams.

“This season it was McCoy Stadium or bust,” Rodericks said while referring to the home of the Pawtucket Red Sox, which also serves as the venue for the baseball finals. “We set goals and last year I told the team ‘Life isn’t fair.’ If you want to win you have to work.

“We worked hard and we we’re hungry. This didn’t happen by accident.”

In retrospect, the Townies had a good chance to annex the 2013 Division 2 state title since they compiled a 15-1 regular-season record only to be eliminated during a qualifying round.

“Last year we had the best player in the state, Nick Karalekas, who got a full ride to Merrimack College and was the first All-Stater we’ve had since I don’t know when,” said Rodericks. “We also had Alex Hurley who went to Worcester Academy and is now at Stonehill. They carried us. Last year it was a combination of battling and getting the short end of the stick.

“This year it was more even keel and our team was more mature by one year. This was more of a team effort even though we didn’t have a Karalekas and a Hurley by far. But we came together and played good baseball.”

That was especially true of EP’s pitching duo of seniors Keith Grant and C.J. Woods. Grant finished 10-0 with a microscopic 0.71 ERA replete with 57 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings while Woods was 8-2 with a 1.05 ERA and an impressive 114 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings.

“We had C.J. and we knew he was going to win,” said Rodericks. “We also had Grant and we knew we were going to win.”

But the Townies weren’t a one-dimensional team that solely relied on pitching. In fact, they produced three of the top hitters in Division 2. Outfielder Jasiah Hatch hit .417 with 30 runs and 30 stolen bases. First baseman Colin Costa led the team with a .435 clip and 20 RBI. Junior catcher Mike Allienello hit .380 with 28 RBI.

Hatch was voted the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

“I think Jasiah (was the tournament’s MVP) because he got things going and started the series hot for us,” said Rodericks. “But Costa had five hits (in the tournament) and three with two outs.’

“Our four seniors (Woods, Grant, Hatch and Costa) came through, moreso than the underclassmen. Everybody contributed but the seniors shined more than the others. When there was pressure, they rose to the occasion.”

Because East Providence only graduated the aforementioned seniors, the prospects for 2015 would appear to be bright.

“I’m very optimistic,” said Rodericks. “We have our defense back. And Kyle Marquis threw a one-hitter and a no-hitter against Hope.

“I’m fully confident next year because of Marquis. He also was my DH. He’ll be a hitting pitcher next year which I didn’t have this year.”

Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey plus minor league baseball in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y, he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

May, 31, 2013
5/31/13
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What do the boys’ lacrosse teams from La Salle Academy, East Greenwich and Smithfield have in common?

Rhode IslandEach team is undefeated and is in first place in its respective division and, not surprisingly, is the odds-on favorite to capture a state championship.

The Rams (10-0 in Division I and 12-0), who are coached by Colonel Steven McConnell, the Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, boast an offense that’s off the charts.

Through matches of May 21, the Rams have out-scored their opponents by a margin of 202-65.

The story within the story is that La Salle attacks Brady O’Donnell and Joe Manown are the top two scorers in the state regardless of division.

O’Donnell, who’s a senior, has whipped home 56 goals and assisted on 33 while sophomore Manown has scored 49 goals and assisted on 38. What makes Manown’s proficiency all the more noteworthy is the fact he missed most of the 2012 season due to injury.

East Greenwich (13-0 in Division II and 13-2 overall), is riding the backs of 15 seniors who have played an integral role in the Avengers’ offense and defense.

Coach Brian Trapani’s team leads the division with 163 goals and has allowed a stingy total of 43.

Senior Colin Watikun and senior Colin Bernier lead the Avengers with 50 points apiece, Waitkun having scored 39 goals and assisted on 11 with Bernier having fired home 40 goals and assisted on 10.

Smithfield (12-0 in Division III and 12-2 overall) hasn’t lost a division game since the 2010 season.

Coach Joe Renzi’s Sentinels weren’t expected to be a contender since the team graduated 16 players from the 2012 squad. But attacks Brendan Benoit, Nick Gerlach and Matt Walker have led an offense that’s tied with Coventry in goals scored with 139.

MOUND KING
Team sport notwithstanding, the baseball program at Hendricken is heavily reliant on arguably the state’s best pitcher, senior Mike King who’s signed a letter of intent to play at Boston College.

King is a major reason why the Hawks lead Division I-North with a 16-0 record since he’s recorded an 8-1 record replete with 46 strikeouts and a mere six walks in 33 innings.

A right-hander, King didn’t allow his first earned run of the season until May 18 when Hendricken beat La Salle, 4-1. King spaced out six hits while going the distance – again.

King also helps himself at the plate with a batting average that’s hovered around .500 all season.

In a recent 5-1victory over Cranston West, King’s RBI single helped key a five-run first inning.

Another Hawk who’s been wielding a potent bat is John Toppa, grandson of the late Rogers High football coaching legend of the same name.

In a 4-3 victory over St. Raphael, Toppa’s fourth-inning double drove home the game-winning run. And in a 6-1 win over Cumberland, Toppa contributed a single, triple and two RBI.

Elsewhere:

* Central Falls pulled off the upset of the season regardless of division when the Warriors won their first game of the season – 5-2 over Division II-North leader Tolman (12-2). Emmanuel Antigua smacked a two-run single during a four-run fourth inning while Brandon Canuto went the distance for the victory. The loss sliced Tolman’s lead over second-place Scituate (13-3) to one game.

* North Kingstown’s Billy Young improved his record to 4-0 by blanking Toll Gate, 7-0, in a Division II-South game. Young allowed only two hits and fanned 10.

* East Providence’s Colin Costa collected two doubles, a single and five RBI as the Townies (14-1) held onto first place in Division II-Central by beating Mount Pleasant, 9-4. Teammate Colin Grant struck out 17 Kilties en route to the complete-game victory.

CLOSE SHAVE
Never let it be said that East Providence softball coach Rob Traverse isn’t true to his word.

A year ago, the Townies won only three of their first 12 games. Traverse made a “bet” with his players that if they won at least seven games this season he’d shave his head. They did and he did.

East Providence currently is in fifth place in the Division I with a 10-5 record – the Townies’ most impressive victory being a 2-0 blanking of North Kingstown (i.e. it was the Skippers’ first loss).

In that win over the Skippers, EP broke a scoreless tie in the eighth inning on Amy DeCastro’s single and Casey Traverse’s subsequent sacrifice fly.

In other games of note:

* Lincoln High to nobody’s surprise clinched the Division I title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming state tournament by beating La Salle, 4-1. Lindsay Mayer allowed only one run on two hits for the 14-0 Lions.

* Division II-East leader Moses Brown (10-5) blanked Central, 6-0, in a crossover game as Emma Rantanen tossed a one-hitter – losing her bid for a no-hitter when Dianna Torres singled with two outs in the sixth.

ENTERING THE HALL
Even though Central Falls is the smallest city in the state, its high school has produced a host of outstanding athletes.

Nine will be inducted into the Central Falls Athletic Hall of Fame on October 11: former boys’ basketball coach Ed McVeigh plus athletes Albert Cardosa, Jeff Desautel, James Dougan, Brian Goodhart, Kevin Guindon, Carmen Pizarro, Russell Standring, Ken Vaudreuil and Kinga Dobrzychi-Zuromski.

Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey plus minor league baseball in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y, he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.

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