The Bishop Hendricken baseball team fell in consecutive games to Cumberland this past week to be eliminated from the Division I playoffs. It was an unexpected defeat as the Hawks appeared to be on a …
The Bishop Hendricken baseball team fell in consecutive games to Cumberland this past week to be eliminated from the Division I playoffs. It was an unexpected defeat as the Hawks appeared to be on a collision course with North Kingstown, who was also ousted from the tournament.
The big question heading into the winner-take-all matchup was whether or not Hendricken would turn to ace pitcher Alex Clemmey. Clemmey is a Vanderbilt commit and a lock to be selected in the upcoming MLB Draft. He was nearly untouchable this spring and essentially a cheat code for the Hawks. If Clemmey was pitching, it would take an extraordinary effort on the other side to get a win.
Clemmey was rested and in the clear to take the hill if his number was called this weekend. I’m not sure if there was a gentleman’s agreement prior to the game between the coaching staffs to not turn to their No. 1 hurlers, but neither team threw their top guns in the final matchup to start the game.
Hendricken trailed 3-1 prior to the rain pushing the remainder of the game to Saturday. It was unclear if the Hawks would throw Clemmey out there to start on Saturday, or at any point as the game wore on.
Hendricken elected to keep Clemmey stashed on the bench and allowed the other pitchers to do their thing.
Some may wonder if the Hawks made the correct decision and it is a fair second guess.
At the end of the day, all things considered, the Hawks did in fact make the best choice and they deserve a ton of respect for it.
There is much more at stake here than a high school championship. Clemmey has an opportunity to be a professional player and to go on to make millions and fulfill a dream that very few people even come close to realizing. To risk his health for a high school game would be dicey … a potential disaster.
Now, that is not to say that these games were meaningless. Most of these players won’t be suiting up after they graduate. For them, this is the biggest tournament of their lives.
For Clemmey, though, it is different. He is different.
Clemmey is a rare athlete that requires different treatment from the other players on the team. When I say different, it has nothing to do with the fundamental requirements of being a quality player and teammate. He should be held accountable for his performance, effort, attitude. He should be required to be present every day and to be putting in the same work as everyone else.
When I say different, the above scenario is exactly what I mean. His future is just too bright to jeopardize. Especially with a potential championship series on the horizon, Hendricken had to pick and choose its usage and it chose correctly by taking the conservative approach.
Had Clemmey pitched, the Clippers likely would have been shut down. I’m sure he would have relished the chance to put his cape on and save the day, but sometimes these competitors need to be saved from themselves.
Not to mention the fact that even without Clemmey, the Hawks had the most talented crop of pitchers in the state. They were certainly not hurting for quality pitching during his absence.
Although the question has been asked, I am pleasantly surprised that it has not become a divisive topic. It gives me faith that we here in Rhode Island do recognize the big picture. As much as we care about championships, as much as we root for these kids to have the opportunity to play on the state’s biggest stage, their lives will continue on after high school and championships will be fond memories, not make-or-break occurrences that will impact their futures.
The Johnston boys volleyball team just finished its second straight perfect season as it rolled to the Division III title over Pawtucket.
What a massive year for Johnston sports as the basketball team won in the winter and now the volleyball team in the spring. It has been a ton of fun to cover and I am happy for the town as it has one of the richest sports histories in the state.
Although the teams have remained competitive in my five years here, these were the first championships they’ve won in that span which has given me a sense of nostalgia, and I’m not even a native Rhode Islander.
When walking through the athletic wing of the high school on Cherry Hill, it is fascinating to see the legends that have come through the town. It almost feels like this year has been a revival, Johnston sports are truly back.
When it comes to the volleyball team specifically, what a powerhouse program it has become. The Panthers have not lost in two seasons and only dropped two sets all spring long. That is dominance at its finest.
I can’t imagine that they will be held in Division III next season. I’m a big believer in letting teams enjoy their time in the sun once they’ve broken through as champions, but it is clear that the Panthers are a notch above the rest. Sure, they will have a new look with a handful of seniors graduating, but you don’t go unbeaten in dominant fashion with just a strong senior core. This team has the depth and coaching to compete at the next level. I’ll be excited to see what they do.
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