The Cranston Western Little League 12-year-old All-Star team came back to beat Burrillville 8-5 in East Greenwich last weekend during the first round of the RI state tournament.
Trailing 5-4 in the top of the sixth inning, Western would score four runs to take back the lead and would go on to shut down Burrillville in the bottom half to secure the win.
Jack Fontaine, Ethan Madden, Brayden Nebus, Adam Stoloff, and Giacomo Caliri all crossed the plate for CWLL in the win, while Marcus Almada produced in the clutch on the mound, holding off multiple late Burrillville rallies and shutting things down in the sixth inning.
“Marcus came in and did great. Marcus is the type of kid that won’t let the moment beat him. He may not always execute, but the moment will never beat him and that’s why I trust him in that situation,” said CWLL manager Gary Bucci after the win.
After steamrolling its way through the district tournament and into the state bracket, Bucci felt that the tough battle was a good thing for his club, and that it would provide valuable experience as it advances deeper into the tournament.
“Today will be valuable because I have a feeling that we will be in a few more games like this. Giacomo Caliri came to the mound and was like, ‘Coach, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt pressure like this before.’ I think this game will definitely help us from a pressure standpoint,” said Bucci.
Although Burrillville had the one-run advantage and the momentum heading into the final inning, Bucci felt that his team’s offense had the advantage over the Burrillville pitching staff.
“I was not overly impressed with their pitching, so I thought that we would be able to strap a few runs,” said Bucci. “I thought that we’d be able to tie it then get into a brawl. I felt in my heart of hearts that we’d be able to strap a run. I’ll take the W.”
The CWLL later took on Barrington on Sunday and fell 7-3, despite taking an early 3-0 lead.
The CWLL 10’s had a strong start to their state tournament, winning their first game 3-0 over Smithfield then 15-5 over Warwick Continental.
David Cavalloro went 4 2/3 innings on the mound against Smithfield, allowing no runs and striking out seven. Nico Testa went 2-for-3, and Chase D’Ambra knocked in an RBI.
WCA jumped out to an early 5-0 lead over CWLL in the second game, but would not be able to hold off the CWLL bats as they cruised to the 15-5 win down the stretch. Cavalloro hit a 3-run triple while Testa, Shane Gaudreau and Ezra Small all recorded three hits. Jeremy Silverio threw four shutout innings and stuck out three.
Games were played on Tuesday evening as well as Wednesday evening, but the results were not available at press time.