The Apponaug Babe Ruth 12-year-old all stars are one win away from a Cal Ripken State Title.
Apponaug beat perennial powerhouse CLCF of Cranston in Tuesday’s winners’ bracket final to earn a spot in the championship. The team will play for the title on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Slater Park in Pawtucket.
The Apponaug squad opened the six-team double-elimination tournament on Saturday with an impressive 8-3 victory over Elmhurst. Josh Coleman and Ryan Carlson combined to pitch a no-hitter, while striking out 13 batters. The offense was powered by home runs from Carlson, Coleman, and Dylan Palmiotti.
On Sunday, Apponaug kept things going with a 5-4 victory over Washington Park. Palmiotti got the start and struck out 14 en route to the victory. At the plate, Coleman hit another home run, Carlson had a single and a double and Palmiotti had two singles.
In the winner's bracket final on Tuesday, Apponaug faced a CLCF team that included many of the same players that won state championships in the 11-year-old division last year and the 9-year-old division in 2009.
CLCF jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning, but Apponaug bounced back in the bottom of the first to take a quick 5-2 lead. Gabe Densley doubled, T.J. Kyle singled and Coleman and Palmiotti hit back-to-back home runs. CLCF eventually tied the game in the fourth inning, and after Apponaug went back in front, the Cranston club grabbed its first lead of the game in the sixth inning.
But in the bottom of the sixth, Densley singled, and with one out, Coleman smashed a walk-off home run to give Apponaug the 9-8 victory.
Coleman and Kyle pitched well for Apponaug, combining for 11 strikeouts. Densley and Coleman went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Palmiotti and Carlson each went 2-for-3.
Apponaug can win the state title with one victory. Whichever team comes out of the losers’ bracket would have to win twice for the title. If necessary, a winner-take-all title game would be played immediately following Thursday’s 5:30 p.m. game.