Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Baseball Showdown at McCoy: Hawks-Rams, for the Belt

In Rhode Island high school sports, it is, quite simply, the Rivalry of Rivalries.

Hendricken-LaSalle; LaSalle-Hendricken. No matter the side on which you fall, it's hard not to love the intensity at the core of these showdowns.  The Hawks have had their way on the gridiron of late, and the basketball games this past season largely belonged to the Rams, though our guys found a way and pulled the upset down at the Ryan Center when it mattered most.

Now, it's time for baseball. 

It's also not too much of a stretch to say that while the Hawks have, for the most part, been as close to a high school baseball dynasty for about two decades now, most people would acknowledge that it's been the Hawks and the Rams who've been at the top of the heap over the course of the past several years.  Even further to that point, a significant number of the the players on both of this year's squads faced off last season for the junior varsity state title, a game won by the Rams in extra innings.

In fact, while our guys come into the state title series wearing the belt as the two-time state champions, one could easily make the case that the Rams - from a program perspective - have gotten the better of the Hawks, as the Maroon has beaten us two years in a row now in the freshman state championship game, in addition the aforementioned JV contest from last season.

Last night, the Hawks and the Rams secured the opportunity to face off once again, as the Rams swept Cumberland in their state title series, winning a 1-0 nai lbiter over the Clippers in Game 2.  Our guys finished both their rain-shortened suspended game from the night before and their series in two straight as well, knocking off Cranston West, 6-1.

The Providence Journal's slideshow from the semi-final series at McCarthy Field can be seen HERE.

The game picked up at the point at which it left off, the Hawks leading 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth. The Falcons were threatening, with runners at second and third and one out.  Coach Holloway made an immediate pitching change to start, bringing in senior Gus Culpo to put out the fire, and that he did.  On only seven pitches, the threat was extinguished on a short flyball to centerfield (which wasn't even deep enough to bring the Falcons' runner home from third on a sacrifice fly) and a groundball to shortstop John Willette. 

The Hawks later added three more runs in the sixth inning to effectively put the game away, and senior Christian Travers finished things off on the mound.

The state championship series will take place next week at McCoy stadium, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and (if necessary) Thursday nights.  Unfortunately, Cox Sports owns the rights and will be broadcasting the games live on local cable.  The Network will, however, have a full staff on hand for various types of coverage - most importantly, we'll have an inning-by-inning, delayed play-by-play available on our Audioboo site, which can be found HERE.  We'l also have live updates, on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as well, and we're even planning on breaking another Network barrier or two during the course of the series.  

For now, that'll have to remain a state secret.  Stay Tuned.