By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston East junior Little League team has had a nice run this summer, winning the District I title and getting a win in the state tournament on Sunday. East fell to Barrington 7-2 in the opening round of the state tournament but
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston East junior Little League team has had a nice run this summer, winning the District I title and getting a win in the state tournament on Sunday.
East fell to Barrington 7-2 in the opening round of the state tournament but rebounded with a 7-3 win over Cumberland the following day to stay in the hunt.
“We’ve benefited from playing some good teams in the district tournament. Teams like Johnston, Elmwood, that really got us prepared for the state tournament against all of the other district winners,” said East manager Bob Blackburn.
East has been led by its pitching staff in both the district and state tournament.
“Our ace Cameron Boulanger pitched really well, Jovi Cruz did a good job too. Aaron Vega pitched two shutout innings in middle relief and Corey Blanchette came in and closed two games. It was a nice pitching combination,” said Blackburn. “Allen Espinal pitched for the first time and pitched a couple of shut out innings. Miles D’Arconte also pitched for the first time and did a really good job. We have very good pitching. Every kid that has pitched has done well.”
The team’s offense has also produced in big moments.
“We hit really well in each game. Josh Smith was our only player to get a hit in every game, he’s our most consistent hitter. Jonathan Antin is also a good hitter. Zach Smith has also helped an awful lot.”
Although Blackburn is confident in his team’s defense abilities, it did have a couple of lapses in the Barrington loss in the opening round, which he hopes the team shakes off and learns from moving forward.
“Defensively we have played very well and the one game we didn’t was against Barrington. You’ve got to get the routine ground balls, make the routine throws to first, eliminate errors. You need to make those plays,” said Blackburn.
Win or lose, Blackburn has enjoyed coaching this unit and has been pleased with the rapport that the kids have developed in the short season.
“The most important thing is that they’re having fun, which to this point they have. They’re having a great time and have come together,” said Blackburn. “Many of them were new coming into the year, but they’ve come together. It’s a solid team that’s fun to coach, they’re solid kids.”