Putting final touches on spring

Posted 6/12/24

This past weekend marked the end of the high school sports season and this spring was a lot of fun and as always, a fast one.

There was a lot to chew on from the past two months of action, so …

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Putting final touches on spring


This past weekend marked the end of the high school sports season and this spring was a lot of fun and as always, a fast one.

There was a lot to chew on from the past two months of action, so let’s take one last look at our teams before transitioning to the summer.

Hendricken reclaimed the DI title by completing the perfect season and topping South Kingstown 7-1 on Saturday. It was the Hawks’ first championship since 2019.

The Hawks were the favorites heading into the season. Hendricken was the favorite last year but was upset in the playoffs. As good as Hendricken was last year, it was even better this season with much of the same core returning.

I didn’t expect a perfect season from the Hawks, but I figured this team would roll from start to finish. I would say this lineup was the best of any baseball team that I have covered in my six years here. Griffin Crain, Ryan Thompson, Jack LaRose, Braeden Campbell, Frank Tillinghast, Cole Camara. The lineup was unbelievable and its dominance was no fluke. It felt like this was a college team.

Hendricken did face some adversity. The Rebels forced the Hawks to come from behind and get the walk-off win in the first game of the series, then SK led 1-0 in the fourth of Game 2 before Hendricken took over down the stretch. However, outside of a couple of blips on the radar, Hendricken waltzed to the title. What a run.

Having said that, the Hawks will have their hands full in trying to repeat next season. Next year will be a true rebuild, a true reset for this roster. Sure, Ed Holloway’s program is top-notch and the Hawks have a steady feeder system, but there will be a question as to what the ceiling of this team will look like. Hendricken’s floor is always high, but how high will the ceiling be?

I spoke on this last week so I won’t go too deep into it again, but our other championship winner was the Cranston East softball team. The Bolts went from winless to champions in just two years, which was perhaps the quickest turnaround that I have watched.

East will have Isabella Sousa and Neveah Fatorma back in the lineup, so the Bolts are going nowhere. So much goes into simply building a foundation and a culture, and that is exactly what has happened at East these past two seasons. Although there will be some holes to fill with the graduating seniors, the Bolts will enter next spring with championship experience, confidence, and enough returners to jump right back into the mix. East should be considered on the short list of favorites next year.

Our boys lacrosse teams had excellent seasons all around. Pilgrim returned to the championship match while Hendricken and Cranston West reached the semifinals.

For Pilgrim, this campaign was the final go-round for Braxton Bragg and Ryan Barlow. The two of them have been four-year starters for the Pats and only knew winning, leading them to four straight championship appearances and winning one in 2022.

Although they wished to have won more than just one championship, that type of success is historic for that program and for the school. Bragg finishes as the all-time leading scorer in school history and Barlow will also be in the discussion for the program’s best player ever. That duo was elite for four years and leaves a massive void for Pilgrim to fill.

Luckily, the Pats had a sneaky young roster this season and Brett Taylor had a breakout freshman year. He seems like a logical building block moving forward who will have a chance to be one of the next greats in the program.

The Cranston West boys volleyball team fell in the championship last Friday night to be the runner up for the second straight season. It was a tough loss for the seniors as they had come so close to winning it all two straight years, but the group will be remembered for being arguably the best to come out of the school.

Chris Harvey, Logan Reed and Christian Mak were not only one of the best trios in the division, but in the state. Things didn’t work out for them in the final game, unfortunately, but this group along with last year’s seniors maintained West’s standing as one of the best programs in Rhode Island. Cranston East reached the Division I semifinals and the Falcons took them to four sets in their exhibition. The fact that the Falcons made it a battle with one of the top-four teams in Division I shows that they can hang with the best of them. West has wanted to be elevated back to DI, and these past two seasons have proven that they’re worthy.

There were many, many other teams and storylines to digest, but these are my biggest takeaways from spring. Now, let’s have a great summer.


pitch, sports, spring


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