The Warwick Vets Middle School softball team topped Feinstein 7-6 to take home the state championship and complete the perfect season last Saturday at Rhode Island College.
Coventry would score four runs in the top half of the sixth inning to take a late 6-5 lead over the Hurricanes. However, Vets responded in the bottom half when Alyssa Twomey and Audra McDonnell knocked in runs to give the Hurricanes the 7-6 lead which would be sustained through the final inning.
“It’s not over, we can hit, we can pitch, we can do everything that they can do, we just need to keep fighting,” said Vets coach Rich Hough of his message to the club after falling behind in the sixth. “They were put in some spots that they had not been in, so we told them that they were going to have to keep battling through it. They came up huge.”
Feinstein opened the game with two runs in the top of the first, but Vets would get an RBI double from Twomey and score on a passed ball to knot the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the inning.
The Hurricanes had a big fourth inning, scoring three runs and taking the 5-2 lead. Gillian Brown, Genna D’Amato and Sophia Chevian would all knock in runs to give Vets the three-run lead midway through the contest.
Chevian got the start in the circle for Vets, pitching four innings and striking out three batters. Twomey would take over from there and close out the contest.
“I’ll take a game like that any day of the week. (Feinstein) is a great, great team, but someone had to win. It was like a heavyweight fight, they won a round, we won a round, and fortunately we were able to win the last round. It was unbelievable,” said Hough after the win.
The Hurricanes were one of the top teams in the 2018 regular season, but had their hopes dashed as they were upset in the semifinals.
They were determined to get the job done this time around, and Hough noticed that drive from day one of the season.
“It is phenomenal, it was something that we worked hard for all year. We lose 10 eighth graders, but we have some good players coming back. For us to win the state championship undefeated, I couldn’t have scripted it any better. The first day of tryouts we asked them, ‘what’s your goal?’ This is what they wanted … last year we lost in the semifinals, but they fought, fought, fought and did it,” said Hough.
Vets also began to hit its peak midway through the season, and came together as a team when it needed to most.
“As soon as we hit (the halfway point of the season), we became a team. Throughout the playoffs these girls picked each other up. Whether a pitcher had a bad inning, or a batter struck out, I think they became teammates in the second half of the season and when they beat North Cumberland in the playoffs … they really became a team,” said Hough. “Off the field, they are together constantly in school and on travel teams which helps, but they all love the game, as do us coaches, and everything just clicked.”