Looking forward to a busy April

Posted 3/29/23

Each year, I go on a spiel about how April is the best month on the sports calendar, and I will do it once again.

April will once again deliver in 2023, starting with what should be an epic …

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Looking forward to a busy April


Each year, I go on a spiel about how April is the best month on the sports calendar, and I will do it once again.

April will once again deliver in 2023, starting with what should be an epic conclusion to the March Madness NCAA tournament. This Saturday will be the Final Four showdowns followed by the actual championship on Monday.

Admittedly, I am not an avid college hoops guy. I pay attention to the teams in our region that advance, so this year it has been UConn, but overall, there are just too many teams and moving pieces for me to keep up with.

However, once the tournament reaches the Elite 8, that is when I lock in a bit more. The talk of UConn for the past 20 years has been on the women’s side. Of course, because that program was on the most dominant run in college sports history. The men’s team to this point has been a dark horse and has overcome the odds to reach this point. It’s a tough, resilient team that now has everyone’s attention.

What has also been fun about this tournament is that so many unusual teams have advanced. Not sure if anyone would have guessed that any of these clubs would reach the Final Four. It’s a nice mix up, and I’m not even going to begin to try to make a prediction. I’m pulling for the Huskies, though.

Then of course, baseball. Our high schools began scrimmaging this week and will be getting the regular season started next week. The pros begin this week as well and Little League will be getting ramped up later in the month.

There is a charm about baseball that hits home every April. It always feels like opening day truly marks the end of winter. Sure, there are plenty of cold early season games, but overall, baseball means spring, nice weather, brighter days.

For our high schools, I’m always intrigued to see if Hendricken can pull it off as perennial favorites. I also look forward to the Cranston East-West rivalry as well as Pilgrim and Toll Gate. Johnston is also coming off a playoff appearance, so that will be fun to watch.

Then our Little Leagues. Rhode Island has some of the country’s best youth baseball and that’s not hyperbole. Look at the year-by-year New England winners in the Little League World Series. The Ocean State dominates. It’s exciting to see if one of our Little Leagues can get it done, and even if it’s another Rhode Island team, it’s always fun to watch the team that could be the one playing on ESPN in Williamsport.

As for the Red Sox. Sigh.

Like most Sox observers, this entire offseason perplexed me. The Sox are one of the richest teams in the world, had plenty of money to spend and loads of talent that needed to be re-signed. Instead, the team elected to let Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi walk right out the door and did little to replace them.

They had a nice spring training, so maybe they will avoid another last place season. To have our sights set on “not last place,” though, is frustrating considering the substantial advantages the club has.

Football is my favorite sport across all levels, and although kick off is months away, April is home to the annual NFL Draft.

This is another one of those “kick off the spring” events that I have circled on my calendar every April. The NFL is the world’s biggest sports organization and we get to see the latest crop of imports join the party. Rhode Island has been represented recently with Hendricken’s Kwity Paye hearing his name called and Xavier Truss will probably be taking the stage in next year’s draft.

Either way, it’s always a great event that gives you a glimpse into the future. It’s also a massive opportunity for teams to beef up their lineups. For the Patriots, they desperately, and I mean desperately, need to nail this year’s draft. They have the 14th overall pick, grab a stud.

I do not follow softball beyond the high school level, but we also have elite softball right in our backyard. Each year, we see plenty of players from Rhode Island reach the next level.

I love the Division I playoffs, especially. It’s always a dogfight and no team ever seems to have the title secure. It really is who plays the best the day of.

Pilgrim, Coventry, La Salle, Bay View, St. Ray’s, Cranston West. It’s always a blast to cover these tournaments and these races all spring and I’m expecting another wild finish.

Then some of the other sports like lacrosse, outdoor track, boys volleyball, tennis. There is just so much to look forward to in this month. Road races, sailing events. April really feels like a month of hope, as cheesy as that sounds. March is an extension of winter, April is when we actually break through.

Happy April to everyone. I am thrilled to be getting back outside and enjoying the fresh air. Looking forward to catching up with you.

pitch, sports, column


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