By ALEX SPONSELLER New England Frozen Lemonade came up short in the RI 19-20 Elite League semifinals last week, falling to eventual champion Upper Deck 13-3. NEFL held a 3-2 lead heading into the fourth inning, however, the second-seeded Upper Deck
By ALEX SPONSELLER New England Frozen Lemonade came up short in the RI 19-20 Elite League semifinals last week, falling to eventual champion Upper Deck 13-3.
NEFL held a 3-2 lead heading into the fourth inning, however, the second-seeded Upper Deck offense exploded and would put the game out of reach the rest of the way.
“They played well and we didn’t execute. We had the team to go do it, we had a 3-2 lead, we could have put the game away, but they’re a good team. They play defense, throw strikes, and in the fourth inning we got hit up,” said NEFL manager Mike Fratus. “I was happy with the way we competed and I was happy with the way that the boys came out to play in the playoffs, the intensity. They came out, were vocal and ready to go. But it was that big inning, when you give up that many runs in one inning it kills your vibe and we couldn’t bounce back from it.”
NEFL entered the playoffs as the third seed and won its opening round matchup at Mickey Stephens. Although the club came up short, Fratus was proud of the group and will miss the kids that will be heading off to college ball.
“Some of these guys I have had for five seasons. Blake Roberge, Tyler Parks, Blake gave us everything he possibly could, he’s a gamer, and Parks is the same way. The Mullane brothers, Jeremiah was a workhorse behind the plate for us. What I’ll remember about that group is just the intensity they played with,” Fratus said. “The core group, the Toll Gate seniors, they’re going to go off to college and they’ll do great things. Having the full group and being able to see the full potential, the amount of fun those guys have with each other, that’s what I’m going to remember most.”
As a handful of its key players will be taking the next step, Fratus is excited to see what the younger kids will bring to the table next year and beyond.
“It all depends on which college kids come back next season instead of playing in leagues that their colleges recommend. If I get some of these guys back then we will have another strong group. However, the following year will be big because we have such a strong juniors team. We had 17 guys on that team, some of them will be ready to come up next year and more will be ready the year after that. It helps the rebuild, we are going to be losing talent but will be gaining some as well,” said Fratus.
He was also happy to see his kids get a chance to compete this summer despite the ongoing pandemic.
“We were ecstatic, the kids wanted to get on the field and were chomping at the bit, as was I,” said Fratus. “I am just happy that the kids had something to do and had somewhere to play, especially those kids going to college. To give them an opportunity to get AB’s and find their rhythm before going into college, it’s good that they will not be going in rusty.”