Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Here We Go Again

It really is unbelievable.

Over the past decade-plus, we here in the New England reason have had plenty of opportunites to get all pumped and jacked for Red Sox-Yankees and Patriots-Jets contests.  Sports rivalries - real rivalries that border on actual dislike - are, in fact, part of the American sports landscape.

When it comes to Rhode Island high school sports, however, there's really nothing even close to Hendricken-LaSalle, LaSalle-Hendricken.  Oh, sure, the Rams have their annual grudge match with East Providence at Thanksgiving, and the Hawks have some intra-city Warwick stuff with the several schools in the area, but there's nothing like the Hawks and the Rams gettin' it on with something on the line.

Look at what we've seen just in the past few years.

For a period of two years, the Rams arguably had the best football team in the state, and had they capped their tremendous two-year run with a title at the end of either one of those two seasons - especially after having convincingly knocked off the Hawks in both regular season contests - they would have only cemented that claim.

When those two teams faced off in those Super Bowls, though, it was the Hawks who found a way to win, on their way to a current and unprecedented run as four-time defending state champions.

On the hardwoods this past season, the Rams also clearly looked to have the best team in the state, running a scorched earth campaign through the regular season and the Division I playoffs.  Along the way they twice sent a message - more like punches to the mouth - to our guys; but, when both squads had advanced to the Ryan Center for the state semi-finals, it was the Hawks - again - who found that they had more to give from within themselves and pulled the stunning upset, on their way to yet another state basketball championship. 

Baseball has been, however, a slightly different story.

While the Hawks come into the state title series as the two-time defending state champions and with a stunning record of baseball success over the course of the past twenty years, one could make the argument that it has been LaSalle that has had more 'program-wide' success during the past couple of seasons.  The freshman Rams have for two consecutive years now defeated our 9th-graders in the state title game, and last season the Rams took the JV state title from the Hawks in the championship game in extra innings.  In fact, many of those players from that JV game will be integral players in what takes place during the next two or three nights.

It's not too much of a stretch, then, to say that these two teams - the Rhody equivalent of the Hatfields and the McCoys - have more or less had a stranglehold on the baseball landscape of late, and, more generally, have had the attention of fans in most sports throughout the school year.

As the flyer above indicates, the game will be broadcast live each night on Cox local sports. For anyone who does not have Cox Cable, however, we here at The Network will  carry an inning-by-inning, delayed audio broadcast of each game.  Stone Freeman, Cam Brennan, and possibly other members of The Network's broadcast team will have the call.  The link to the audiocast is here - 


The links to our coverage on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can be found here -




Strap yourselves in, everybody.

Here we go again.