WEST WARWICK â€“ Like many American Legion coaches, Collette Vacations boss Ray Ventura was probably hoping that Jeff Diehl was going turn pro after getting drafted by the New York Mets in June.
You could see why Friday night as Diehl single-handily almost won the game for Gershkoff/Auburn Post 20, the catcher belting two home runs in a 6-4 win over Collette in the winnersâ€™ bracket final of the American Legion Senior Division playoffs.
WEST WARWICK â€“ Instead of dwelling on Thursdayâ€™s loss to Collette Vacations Post 79, the boys from Cumberland Post 14 answered the challenge of keeping its season alive.
Top-seeded Post 14 lives to fight another day thanks to eight standout innings from knuckleball artist Zach Perry and key hits from Tyler Santaniello and Nick Zammarelli. Almost forgotten in the aftermath of Fridayâ€™s 5-2 win against defending champion New England Frozen Lemonade/Shields Post 43 was the spectacular â€“ some may argue season-saving â€“ catch Matt Sorkin made in center field to end the top of the first inning.
The fourth week in July means the following:
1). The bombardment of back-to-school commercials, serving as a cruel reality check and a reminder that summer reading will not be accomplished through osmosis or CliffsNotes.
2). Thereâ€™s roughly a month remaining in the minor league season. Where does the time go?
3). Another fast-moving July 31 trading deadline is just days away from building toward a crescendo.
EAST PROVIDENCE â€” Itâ€™s been quite some time since Collette Vacations Post 79 enjoyed a nine-game win streak or found itself two wins away from a state championship, but thatâ€™s the state of the Pawtucket ballclub heading into tonightâ€™s 8 p.m. winnersâ€™ bracket final at McCarthy Stadium.
Eric Geisman gave a splendid performance on the mound and Post 79 did just enough offensively to help produce a 4-1 victory over Cumberland Post 14 on Thursday night in their semifinal-round game at Pierce Field.
WEST WARWICK â€” No one could have seen this coming.
There was Collette Vacations Post 79 and Hurd Auto Mall of Johnston on Wednesday, locked in a 2-2 duel after nine innings. Then came the top of the 10th, which saw Hurd run into major problems on the mound. Goodbye tightly played affair. Hello 12-2 lop-sided victory for Post 79, coming in the opening round of the American Legion Senior Division â€śElite Eightâ€ť double-elimination tournament. Collette, the fifth seed, now faces top overall seed Cumberland Post 14 Thursday night at 7, the venue Pierce Field.
WEST WARWICK â€” To say that Ryan Oâ€™Dell and his Cumberland Post 14 teammates are looking forward to the American Legion Senior Division playoffs would be a gross understatement.
Just a few months earlier, many of the same players on manager Jim Dawberâ€™s crew figured prominently on the Lincoln High baseball squad that exited quickly from the Division I playoffs. It was the type of ending that was viewed in some corners as a complete shock, especially since Lincoln had captured the I-North division title and rattled off seven consecutive wins to begin the season.
WARWICK â€” After capturing the state title for 11-year-olds last year with basically the same core of players, Cumberland American All-Star coach Dave Belisle kind of had a feeling his team had what it took to excel in the Major Division this summer.
Just a little more than a month after the season began, his young and talented players certainly proved it.
WEST WARWICK --- They will try this again today.
Tuesdayâ€™s start to the American Legion Senior Division â€śElite Eightâ€ť double-elimination tournament only reached a few innings before inclement weather rained on most of the state and suspended both opening-round doubleheaders at McCarthy Field in West Warwick and Pierce Field in East Providence.
Itâ€™s a special time for the players of the Cumberland American Little League All-Star team. The squad, which is mostly comprised of 12-year-old youths, stormed through the District IV Major Division Tournament and after two dominating victories at the state level stands just a win away from representing Rhode Island at the Eastern Regionals in Bristol, Conn., next week.
Manager Arnie Beyeler may not want to admit it but his Pawtucket Red Sox are in a pennant race. They open a four-game series with International League North leader Lehigh Valley tonight in Allentown, Pa. The PawSox trailed the IronPigs by one game heading into Monday nightâ€™s action.
We hear all the time that Pawtucketâ€™s main job is to have replacement players ready for Boston, and the PawSox have succeeded in that department, too. Their â€śalumniâ€ť have played an integral role in Bostonâ€™s rise to the top of the American League East this season.