Tourney Champs

Hope Highlands rolls to Ocean State Tourney win

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The Hope Highlands softball team rolled past Scituate 14-3 to claim the Ocean State Championship in the Rhode Island middle school softball playoffs.

The Huskies would take a 3-0 lead early in the contest, but would go on to break things open by scoring 11 runs in the final three innings to secure the win.

Lily Buco led the way for Hope Highlands, going 4-for-5 at the dish and recording three RBI. Siena Nardelli and Gianna King each also went 4-for-5 while knocking in two RBI. Jenna Malloy and Ava Santo also collected a pair of RBI each.

King took the circle for the Huskies, going the distance and striking out seven batters in the process.

Hope Highlands coach Alex St. Angelo was happy to see her team jump out to grab the lead, and to put things out of reach in the fifth inning.

“We were relived but we have been in some games where (the opponent) has come back. We never can get comfortable. (We didn’t expect) this, they were the No. 2 seed and we had never played them before. We didn’t know a lot about this team but we knew we had to play our best, that was our mindset going in,” said St. Angelo, who felt that her club had a knack for turning things on when the lights were their brightest. “They always seem to play better when they know the team they’re facing is good, this is a big stage over here and they performed great.”

The Huskies had an up-and-down regular season, but rolled in the playoffs, collecting a 5-2 win over Burrillville in the quarterfinals and a 9-3 win over Lincoln in the semis. However, Saturday afternoon marked their best performance of the season, according to St. Angelo.

“We had a lot of fight, a lot of energy in the dugout … we have been trying to get that out of them all year so I’m glad that it all came together. They peaked at the end of the season which is certainly the best time to do it,” said St. Angelo.

The Huskies will now flip the page to 2020, and will look for some of their young returners to make an impact as they say bye to the graduating eighth graders.

“We lose a lot, but we gain a lot every year too. We’ll miss the eighth graders, they’ve been here for the past three years and have been great,” said St. Angelo. “We have had some success here in the past three years and they’re a big part of that, they’re the core.”

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