The Cranston Western 12-year-old All-Stars cruised to a 10-0 win over North Providence on Sunday evening after rolling to wins against Mt. Pleasant and Fox Point by a combined score of 29-0 to begin the District 1 tournament.
The Western 12’s will now face the winner of the losers bracket final between Cranston East and North Providence which was played on Tuesday evening. The final results were not available at press time.
“The score (against North Providence) was not indicative of how close the game was, we were only up 1-0 in the third inning and 5-0 in the fourth. We played a clean game though, which was nice. We beat Mt. Pleasant, then Fox Point in another 10-0 game,” said Western manager Gary Bucci, who, despite the excellent start, expects a tight battle on Thursday’s championship. “We (expect to be pushed) in the district final, and I’m dead serious when I say that. The day you let your guard down, the day you begin to take things for granted is the day that it is taken away. North Providence for example, has some kids that play AAU, many of them have played together for a while, they have some real talent, so if they come in with house money and nothing to lose, then anything can happen.”
Giacomo Caliri threw a gem in the win over North Providence, surrendering no runs while racking up seven strikeouts. Caliri, Jack Fontaine, Ethan Madden, Marcus Almada, Christopher Melise and Jared Patalano all crossed the plate for Western on offense.
Keeping the momentum alive while also staying grounded mentally will be the key, according to Bucci.
“That is the essence of coaching at this level. You want them to be engaged without being too tight that they can’t breathe. At this level, for some of them this is pressure like they have never felt, it’s all going to come down to pitching and playing a clean game, but at this level, anything can happen,” said Bucci.
At the moment, Western is poised to cement its place as one of the all-time teams in the league’s history. Bucci believes that the recent results stem from talent, hard work, and familiarity between the players.
“This is a talented group, but not an overly-talented group … they buy in. The kids have bought in significantly, all the kids and parents have bought in to the culture which is that you have to work extremely hard,” said Bucci. “There is clearly talent, but they’ve bought into the hard work, and this for many of them is their third year playing together.”