Reports of The Network's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Seemingly an interminable amount of time has passed since we've had any time to devote fully our attention to Hawks' sports. Lots of year-end, practical matters have gotten in the way.
In any event....we're back.
When last we left our guys on the diamond, they'd coughed up the opportunity to put the South Kingstown Rebels away in a quick and timely fashion. Further, what we'd seen from the Hawks over the course of the season - namely, an offense that simply and routinely ran over its opponents - had, if not altogether disappeared, only been showing itself in fits and starts during the playoffs.
Not so much in the winner-take-all regional final on SK's home turf. In a matter of two swings during the course of the game, it was, for all intents and purposes, over.
Gian Martellini crushed a three-run homerun in the first inning to spot our guys an early lead, and then Brady Chant delivered the hammer blow in the fourth inning, a grand slam that put the Rebels away.
The Providence Journal's entire slideshow from the game can be seen HERE.
Those two swings, combined with the consistent, shut-down pitching of staff ace Mike McCaffrey, sent the Hawks on their way to the state semis at McCarthy Field. The 11-0 win over the Rebels also seemed to indicate that not only was the offensive firepower ready to re-awken but also that, perhaps, the Hawks' penchant for 'mercy-ruling' their opponents had as well. After five innings, the game was officially over.
The two of three semi-final against Cranston West was next, and our guys once again came out on top, but it wasn't easy. Junior Mike Webb made his first start of the season and was solid over 4-plus innings of work, managing to hold the Falcons to three runs; Christian Travers took the ball the rest of the way and kept the Falcons in check. It wasn't until Ryan Rotondo's sacrifice fly that delivered the winning run in the bottom of the extra 8th frame that the Hawks could finally breathe easy.
Game two, played last night, was suspended in the fourth inning when the rains came down. The game will be picked up at the point it left off - the Falcons have runners at second and third, one out, and a 3-0 count on the batter.
The Providence Journal's slideshow from the abbreviated contest can be seen HERE.
Unfortunately, The Network is not allowed to cover the semi-finals due to contractual obligations with another entity. If the Hawks make it to McCoy, we still will be unable to stream the game live; however, we are planning different types of coverage from the scene.
Hopefully, we'll be seeing you all at the finals.