After a lopsided game between the East Greenwich and Exeter-West Greenwich Senior Little League All-Stars last Thursday the two teams returned to action Friday for what turned into a back-and-forth championship battle.
The two teams alternated leads at Wawaloam Field all game but ultimately EWG emerged with a 12-8 victory and the District 3 Championship banner.
“It was a very good game,” East Greenwich coach Eric Barnes said by phone Wednesday. “A lot of offense.”
“East Greenwich was a really good team,” Exeter-West Greenwich coach Jim Fiske said Monday night. “They played all the way through and they didn’t give up.”
After losing to East Greenwich 8-7 in nine innings earlier in the tournament, Exeter-West Greenwich had to battle its way out of the losers bracket to get to the district finals.
“That was a remarkable come-from-behind win in nine innings,” Barnes said of the first meeting between the two teams. “We went down early 6-1 and crawled to within 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh.”
A two-out , two RBI hit from Brandon Barnes would tie that game and in the ninth Max Hagenberg’s double sealed the win.
EWG came back with a vengeance though and – after eeking past Chariho 6-5 – routed EG 12-2 to force Friday’s deciding game.
Even with how the last game ended East Greenwich came out strong against EWG and plated four runs in the first inning to take the early lead.
“The boys were a little scared, they came in and put their heads down a little,” Fiske said. “We told them to score a couple here, couple there to get back in the game and we came back and scored three.”
Over the next few innings the two teams traded the lead back and forth before EWG finally seized control with a three-run inning to surge ahead 9-6.
From there Exeter-West Greenwich never trailed en route to the 12-8 win and a berth in the state tournament.
EWG will now face District 2 champion Riverside Saturday at 3 p.m. at Sprague Park in Narragansett and with a win will take on District 1 champ Johnson at the same time Sunday.
“It’s really big getting to the state tournament,” Fiske said. “My boys are as a happy as can be to get there. They’re excited. It’s a tremendous, tremendous thing for a small town like EWG to get through a district and get to the states.”
As for East Greenwich, it may have fallen short of winning the district but it will likely be right back in the mix next season as Anthony Petrone and Nick Costa were the only 16-year olds on this season’s team.
“We’re primed for next year,” Barnes said. “We had a relatively young team and I think they overachieved a little bit. Next year should be really exciting if they all decide to come back.”
“…They should be proud of their accomplishment and they should be looking forward to next time.”
For the tournament East Greenwich got tremendous contributions from Max Moss, while Meran Topalian and Gabe Boisvert played well for EG despite being the team’s only 14-year olds.