FIRST RIALB FALL BALL SEASON AN UNQUALIFIED SUCCESS
WARWICK -- To say the inaugural year of the Rhode Island American Legion Fall Baseball team was a success would be an understatement of monsterous proportions.
In virtually every way, on the field and off, the fortunes of the team's first season could not have gone better, says head coach Jim Morrison.
The team, made up of some of the most promising returning players in the Rhode Island American Legion Baseball League, went 12-4 over their seven-week season, including an 8-3 record in the tournaments in which they participated.
"We started with 17 players who just wanted to play more baseball," said Morrison. "They were great kids--great to be around. They played hard, they played well, they all got better, and that's what it was all about. I couldn't be more happy with the way it went."
Winners of the Firecracker Tournament in September, the Rhode Island Legion Elite team enhanced their tournament schedule with games against other teams, including matchups against the Community College of Rhode Island. Morrison says those two games "turned out to be very, very competitive, and we thank (CCRI head coach) Ken Hopkins for giving us the opportunity to play them."
All 17 players will return to their regular-season clubs when the 2016 season begins next June, but Morrison says their fall experience will certainly carry forward for many others in years to come.
"We're going forward with more for next fall," he said, "We're hoping to have teams from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire join us." The formation of teams in those three other states and the creation of a regional league are part of the vision of State Senior Division Commissioner Jim Foster, who continues to work with Morrison on the project.
"I think we had to prove ourselves to the other states that this is an imporant piece of American Legion Baseball--that playing in the fall could really enhance the total experience," said Rhode Island American Legion Baseball Assistant Chairman John Parente, "Jim and Jimmy have put together a program that will eventually incorporate three other state organizations and create an exciting and unique playing opportunity for the best players Rhode Island has to offer. And they did it without burdening parents of the players with a large tab to pay. This idea flourish because it provide as much if not more bang for the buck than most other high-profile programs.
"It couldn't have been better for the promotion of Legion Baseball," he said.
Depending upon the interest, the potential of a second Rhode Island team is even a possibility for 2016. "It is something to consider, hopefully sooner than later," said Foster, "but it can be done." Morrison added, "I see nothing but growth for this idea....There's no where to go but up."
All 17 players will be back at their high schools next spring, including Greg Ballinger, Liam McGill, and Asa Nyblom of South Kingstown; Brendan Cavaco, Peter Rouse, and Peter Taraian of LaSalle Academy; Austin Alzate and Connor Kiernan of Cranston West; Jarrod Houle, Chris Reid, and Dave Simmons of Warwick Vets; Luis DeLeon and John Marzec of Moses Brown; Alex Levin of Lincoln; North Kingstown's Mark Halloran; Javier Brown of Cumberland; and Dylan Boisclair of St. Raphael Academy.
RHODE ISLAND ELITE TEAM WINS FIRECRACKER TOURNEY TITLE
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- The newly-formed Rhode Island American Legion Elite Fall Ball team captured the 2015 Firecracker Tournament championship yesterday, with a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over the American Legion entry from Seekonk, Mass., yesterday at Dean Junior College. The win capped a 5-0 tournament run, highlighted by wins over two AAU entries from Massachusetts and the victory over Seekonk's strong Legion entry.
Left-hander Peter Rouse of LaSalle Academy, the fourth pitcher used by Coach Jim Morrison in the title game, came on in relief to earn the win, as Rhode Island Elite scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to secure the championship.
The tournament champs opened their title bid back on Saturday, defeating a Rhode Island travel team, Elmwood Sports of Cranston, 8-3., then turned aside the challenge from a Legion team from Braintree, Mass., before taking down the AAU squads from Douglas and Greenfield, Mass.
"We didn't really have any standout performances during any of our games," said Morrison, "We put together some hits, scored some runs, and came up with the plays when we needed it. It really turned out to be a good, good weekend. We split playing time as equally as we could among all 17 of our players. I think our guys really appreciate that. We are very loose in the dugout, and, most of all, we're having a lot of fun playing baseball in the fall. Being this relaxed gives them a no-pressure opportunity to play at their best, and it's working.
" It's turning out to be a great experience for them," added Morrison, "They'll get 16 or 17 games before the cold weather comes. They'll get plenty of innings and plenty of swings, and will be so much better when their high school seasons roll around next spring.
UPPER DECK-POSTS 86/14 CROWNED 2015 RHODE ISLAND SENIOR DIVISION CHAMPIONS
Upper Deck-Posts 86/14 defeated South Kingstown Post 39 to earn the 2015 Department of Rhode Island American Legion Baseball Senior Division Championship.
Entering the tournament as it's #1 seed, UD finished the week an impressive 4-1 on their way to clinching the state championship.
Members of the team are from Cumberland HS and Lincoln HS.
Congratulations to Team Manager Steve Reynolds Sr., Head Coach Steve Reynolds, Jr. and the entire UD staff. We wish you well as you represent Rhode Island in the 2015 American Legion Baseball Senior Northeast Regional Tournament in Bristol, CT.
2015 NORTHEAST JUNIOR AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL REGIONAL TOURNAMENT
2015 AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL NORTHEAST JUNIOR REGIONAL TOURNAMENT
HOSTED BY AUBURN POST 20 AND THE DEPARTMENT OF RHODE ISLAND
ALL GAMES ARE SEVEN INNINGS
HOME TEAM DECIDED BY COIN FLIP FOR ALL GAMES. HOME TEAM SHALL USE THE THIRD BASE DUGOUT; VISITORS IN THE FIRST BASE DUGOUT. THE HOST TEAM MAY USE THEIR NORMAL DUGOUT IN ANY GAME THAT THEY ARE INVOLVED IN, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ARE HOME OR VISITOR.
FRIDAY AUGUST 7
GAME #1 @ CRANSTON STADIUM, 10:00 AM ~ RHODE ISLAND Riverside Post 10 vs. CONNECTICUT
GAME #2 @ CRANSTON STADIUM, 1:00 PM ~ NEW HAMPSHIRE vs. MASSACHUSETTS Greenfield Post 81
GAME #3 @ CRANSTON STADIUM, 4:00 PM ~ MAINE Bethel vs. RHODE ISLAND Auburn Post 20-Gershkoff Auto Body/Elmwood SportsCenter
GAME #4 @ CRANSTON HIGH SCHOOL WEST, 4:00 PM ~ RHODE ISLAND South Kingstown Post 39 vs. MASSACHUSETTS Methuen Post 122
SATURDAY AUGUST 8
GAME #5 @ CRANSTON HIGH SCHOOL WEST, 10:00 AM ~ LOSER GAME 1 vs. LOSER GAME 2 (Consolation Game)
GAME #6 @ CRANSTON HIGH SCHOOL WEST, 12:30 PM ~ LOSER GAME 3 vs. LOSER GAME 4 (Consolation Game)
GAME #7 @ CRANSTON STADIUM, 4:00 PM ~ WINNER GAME 1 vs. WINNER GAME 2
GAME #8 @ CRANSTON STADIUM, 7:00 PM ~ WINNER GAME 3 vs. WINNER GAME 4
SUNDAY AUGUST 9
GAME #9 @ CRANSTON HIGH SCHOOL WEST, 1:00 PM ~ LOSER GAME 7 vs. LOSER GAME 8 (Third Place Game)
GAME #10 @ CRANSTON STADIUM, 4:00 PM ~ WINNER GAME 7 vs. WINNER GAME 8 (Championship Game)