Warwick’s annual city series baseball tournament concluded at Warwick American and Apponaug on Friday night, and Continental Little League was the last team standing on both championship fields.
Continental’s Papa’s Ice Cream Red Sox won the major division championship and West Shore Collision captured the title in the minors tournament. Both Continental squads beat teams from Warwick National in the finals. The Red Sox won 11-1 and West Shore Collision posted a 17-0 victory.
For both teams, the city championships capped off strong seasons. Each won its playoff title at Continental before taking time off for all-star season. The teams got the gang back together last week for their title quests.
The Red Sox, who were coached for many years by the late Lou D’Abrosca, added the city title to their long history in the league. They won each of their three games in the series by 10 runs.
“Surprisingly enough, because our best pitcher had a broken leg,” said manager Peter Holmes, who coached with D’Abrosca and has now taken over the team. “The kids battled all the way through. It was a veteran group. We had a strong team. They got along very well and they worked hard.”
The Red Sox opened with a 12-2 victory over Apponaug then beat West Side by the same score. In the championship at Warwick American, the Red Sox fell behind 1-0 in the second inning.
In the next half-inning, Max Prescott tied the game with an RBI single and Aiden Areson cranked a two-run homer to give Continental the lead.
National stayed close into the fifth, when the Red Sox broke the game open. Prescott smashed a grand slam, and his team sent 12 batters to the plate in an eight-run frame.
“Everyone was just swinging the bat,” Holmes said. “They all contributed.”
National made one last run in its half of the fifth, but Dominic Martin and Alex Medeiros made good plays in the outfield to keep National off the board.
Tyrell Bernal, a 10-year-old, went the distance on the mound in the championship victory. Prescott and Areson led the offense all week.
The defense shined as well.
“We might have had one error the whole week, and it was a judgment call,” Holmes said. “We played great in the field.”
The result was an impressive run to the title.
“We got the kids together for a practice the week before, to kind of get them back in baseball mode,” Holmes said. “I just expected them to work hard and compete, and it worked out for us.”
Team members are: Nathan Dunn, Dominic Martin, Tyrell Bernal, Michael Rossner, Jason Herchuk, Anthony Calise, Nicholas Cehelsky, Aiden Areson, Max Prescott, Jack McMahon, Alex Medeiros and Jacob Brennan. Jim Areson is the assistant coach.
In the minors tournament, Continental’s representative followed a similar formula as their major division counterparts. West Shore Collision beat Apponaug 13-3 and West Side 15-3 for a spot in the championship, where the momentum carried over for a 17-0 mercy-rule victory.
“Our kids pitched really well, and we hit the best we hit all year,” said manager Ray Lajoie. “We played great.”
The team was up and down in the regular season, finishing with a 9-7 record, but it navigated though the league playoffs for the title and city series berth.
Lajoie liked his team’s chances.
“Honestly, I thought we could do it because we really did have a great group of pitchers,” he said. “That’s a huge key at this level. We had a lot of kids who could throw strikes.”
The pitching didn’t disappoint, allowing six total runs in the city series, but it had plenty of help, too. The offense broke out in a big way, tallying 45 runs in the three games.
“We didn’t hit like that until this week,” Lajoie said. “Everybody contributed and the bottom of the lineup was on fire.”
In Friday’s championship, Brady Jacques and Brandon Lajoie combined on the shutout, while Mason Drone led the offensive attack with a triple that helped blow the game open.
Throughout the week, West Shore Collision received team-wide contributions. James Kiernan, Alex Mann, Nick Gray and Kyle Moro had key hits while Jack Cuddy set the tone from the leadoff spot. Matthew Colvin delivered steady defense in center field and Nathan Palumbo shined behind the plate.
“It was great to see the kids get the trophy and be acknowledged for a great year,” Ray Lajoie said. “To see them go from struggling to win games at the beginning of the year to being city champs was exciting.”
Vin Palumbo, Tim Johnson, Ed Colvin and Chris Gray served as assistant coaches. Lajoie also thanked the parents for their support.