Riverside 9-10 All-Stars Take Championship - Stings Rumford 15-0
Back to Back Complete Game Shutouts by Riverside Pitchers Hallene & Renaud
The Riverside minors all-stars slugged their way to a 15-0 win over cross-town rival Rumford little league in the District II 9-10 year old All-Star Championship. The title game was played Sunday July 29th at Forbes Field in Riverside, RI. District II is the largest of the states four Little League districts. Teams participating in the double-elimination tourney were from East Providence Central, Riverside, Rumford, Tiverton, Barrington, Warren, Portsmouth, Newport, King Phillip, Pine View and Darlington Americans. The eleven teams coming from across the East Bay and Pawtucket began tournament play on July 2nd. When the dust settled, two East Providence teams, Rumford and Riverside, emerged to play for the championship.
The tournament has a double elimination format. Rumford started strong with three consecutive wins over King Phillip, Pine View and Warren to reach the finals. The 3-0 start kept the Rumford team solidly atop the winner's bracket. Rumford coach Eddie Wencis recalled his team come from behind over a pesky Warren squad. "These boys continue to work hard. It was a great effort by the team in the Warren game. We were down 5 - 1 heading into the 5th inning, but the team came back to tie the game and went on to win 6 - 5 in extra innings. There were great plays in the field and clutch at bats for both teams. We really benefitted from timely pitching also. On to the championship this weekend," said coach Wencis. "Our kids are having a great time."
Riverside had a little different ride to reach the finals. Thrown into the loser's bracket with an opening round loss to Warren on July 2nd, Riverside stormed back to reach the finals with 5 impressive wins over Barrington, Portsmouth, Pine View, Darlington and a 10-1 win over Warren, avenging that opening round loss. "These boys continue to work hard. A great 10-1 win over Warren, the team that sent us to the losers bracket in game 1. They have worked hard and not given up," said Riverside coach Kris Hallene.
On Saturday, July 28th, Rumford and Riverside faced off in a semi-final game. A Rumford win would have crowned them the undefeated District II champion. Riverside had to win to reach the finals on Sunday. The game was played at Kim Rock Memorial Little League field in Rumford. The game, played before a packed house was won by Riverside in a 4-0 game. However the score was not indicative of the closeness of the game. Rumford was always in the game and had opportunities to score right through to the final inning.
With no score in the top of the 2nd inning Riverside had the bases loaded but Rumford escaped the inning with no damage. Little by little Riverside managed to get on base and built up a 4-0 lead. Rumford threatened on several occasions to score but Riverside's Lefty Hallene was sharp on the mound as he tossed a complete game shutout for the eventual win. Riverside also played a crisp defense with many key fielding plays. At a key juncture of the game Rumford was once again close to scoring. With two runners on base Rumford's Isaiah Brooks lofted a deep drive for a hit to left field. With most fans expecting a run or two to score, Riverside's Owen Richards threw to the cutoff man, shortstop Jonathan "JJ" Renaud at the edge of the outfield grass and Renaud threw a perfect strike to catcher Aiden Martins for the out at the plate. The unlikely play brought Riverside fans to their feet cheering. For Rumford fans the play seemed to signify that the two rivals were destined to play one more time this weekend.
"Another great game by both teams," said Rumford's Eddie Wencis after the Saturday semi-final game. "It seems to come down to Rumford and Riverside all the time. Both teams are ready, it should be a great game on Sunday," he added.
Riverside quickly set the tone in the championship game. After Rumford batters were set down in order by Riverside pitcher and eventual winner, Jonathan "JJ" Renaud in the top of the first, Riverside scored 4 runs in their half of the first. Renaud slammed a double to left field and soon scored on a pass ball with the bases loaded. Jose Figueroa had a single scoring Aiden Martin who was hit by a pitch and Jacob Duarte then knocked in Figueroa. Peter Pereira hit a triple and Rumford was down 4-0 in the first inning.
Rumford could not catch up with Riverside throughout the game. After two quick outs in the second inning, Rumford's Jayson Pacheco reached on a single. Dave Murphy reached base on a ball batted to right field but Pacheco was thrown out at home on a nifty relay throw from Riverside's Nick Rhea to first baseman Lefty Hallene who then fired the ball to catcher Aiden Martins.
Riverside hit the ball hard and often and seemingly ran at will stretching singles to doubles and doubles to triples, etc. JJ Renaud kept Rumford at bay while accounting for Riverside's second consecutive complete game shutout by a Riverside pitcher. In the top of the fourth inning, Renaud made all three of his team's defensive outs. Renaud snared a Cole Beathe comebacker and threw to first for the out. On the next play the Riverside pitcher went to his knees to grab a sharply hit ground ball by Jamison Sidney and fired to first for the second out and then struck out the next batter.
The Riverside onslaught continued as they got a triple from Nick Rhea, a single from Isaac Rodriguez and a single from Jacob Stover. Next JJ Renaud singled and after an Aiden Martin hit, Renaud scored from first base to seal the victory with the 15th run for Riverside. Riverside won the tournament for the second consecutive year.
"I have to congratulate a great team over there," said Rumford coach Eddie Wencis at the post game ceremony. "You guys played so well and deserved the win. You've been good for a couple of years now and we have enjoyed playing you. We look forward to getting back to this game in the coming years. I am also proud of my team," Wencis told his players and fans. "You played hard and came out of the winners bracket on top, but this is a great Riverside team."
Riverside coach Kris Hallene while praising his players also congratulated Rumford. "You guys had a great tournament, coming out of the winners bracket with no losses. I know we'll be seeing a lot of Rumford in the future," added Hallene.
District officials awarded the championship banner to Riverside and tournament pins to both teams. "It is very significant that two East Providence teams reached the finals out of some 14 little leagues in District Two." After the game, Jonathan Renaud with three hits and a strong pitching performance and good fielding was awarded the game ball.
Riverside players: Owen Richards, Jonathan Renaud, Lefty Hallene, Aidan Martins, Jose Figueroa, Jacob Duarte, Peter Pereira, Jayden Healey, Nick Rhea, Isaac Rodriguez, John Wooten and Jacob Stover. Manager Kris Hallene, coaches Sara Duarte and Jody Richards.
Rumford players: Cole Beathe, Jamison Sydney, Max Correiro, Isaiah Brooks, Corbyn Piedoux, Jayson Pacheco, Dave Murphy, Jack Pawlik, Kenny Medeiros and Max Tuthill. Manager Eddie Wencis, coaches Dave Murphy, Bill Keough and Scott Haggerty.
Special thanks to Tyler Saunders Maxwell for game pictures.