The Warwick West Side 9/10-year-old softball all-stars narrowly won their first two games in the District 3 tournament, taking both by 5-4 scores.
Sunday’s district championship wasn’t nearly as close.
When it counted the most, West Side left no doubt.
Thanks to a patient approach at the plate and some timely hitting, West Side broke out for a 15-5 victory over Westerly National to capture district championship.
“We came out and hit the ball,” said manager Frank Brown. “I’ve been telling the girls all along that I thought we were the best hitting team in the district. That’s what we focused on all week and the bats came through.”
That paved the way for the league’s second straight 9/10-year-old softball championship, and it earned West Side a spot in the state tournament. West Side will host the tournament, which begins on Saturday.
“The girls were very excited,” Brown said. “Winning last year meant a lot, and it was an equally good feeling this time. Our goal was to win the district and get to states. The girls were really excited to get the flag and add to the tradition and pride of West Side.”
West Side had beaten Westerly National in its tournament opener, rallying from an early 4-0 deficit.
This time, West Side didn’t need a comeback. The team broke out early and never looked back en route to the mercy-rule win.
On the other side, starting pitcher Lexi Brown allowed just two hits in the four-inning complete game.
“Offensively, we were very patient,” Frank Brown said. “We worked the Westerly pitcher and we were able to get some walks. Then we had a lot of timely hits.”
The performance was just what West Side was hoping for considering its tradition of success. Six players returned from last year’s 9/10 team, and they’ve now won back-to-back crowns.
“We had high expectations,” Brown said. “We’re very deep in pitching, and defensively we’re very strong. The concern at this level is always about whether the 9-year-olds can come up and play at this level and they have. We’ve played very well.”
Team members are Danaja Alpaio, Gianna Altieri, Bailey Arruda, Sydni Bigelli, Lexi Brown, Kaylyn Ciesielski, Maeve Malloy, Haley Marchetti, Marilyn McKay, Trinity Reilly, Alyssa Richard, Dyonna Rodas and Taylor Suffoletto.
West Side begins play in the state tournament on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against District 1 champion Elmwood.