Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Threepeat, Banner #19, and Two Decades of Dominance

Facts, are indeed, stubborn things. 

Yes, there are plenty of first-rate high school baseball players throughout Rhode Island, and yes, there are plenty of good teams. There is only one program, however, that can clearly lay claim to being the best of the past twenty-odd years, and by extension, probably one that has had the most extended run of dominance in Rhode Island schoolboy baseball history. Of course, LaSalle has a fairly storied baseball history itself, and in other sports, one need only look at the Mount St. Charles hockey program of the past 30-40 years. 

With regard to baseball, however, it is more and more quickly becoming about the Hawks. 

Our baseball team captured its third consecutive state title and 19th overall last night, taking game #2 by a score of 6-0 and sweeping archrival LaSalle in the state title series, two games to none. True to his form and character, Anthony "AC" Cofone delivered a big-time performance under the bright lights, going the distance and shutting out the Rams on just five hits.

Cool, calm, and collected from beginning to end, it was pretty obvious from the get-go that AC was in form, flashing the leather and recording a strikeout in the early going:

Throughout the course of the game, AC's defense supported him at every turn. Shortstop John Willette was always there when needed to make a tough play:

Willette also chipped in on offense with three hits, one of which can be seen here:

Naturally, The Network staff was there in full force. Stalwarts Stone Freeman, Cam Brennan, and Zach Johnson handled the play-by-play and analysis duties high above home plate in the press box, while Max Zweiner, Dylan "DT" Barron, and Johnathan Feeny handled Instagram highlights. Their work from different angles around McCoy Stadium added greatly to our coverage. 

Fans can still listen to The Network's entire play-by-play call of the game right here:

The Providence Journal's slideshow from the game can be seen HERE. 

Combined with AC's early strong work, the Hawks' offense got off the ground in the first as well. Ryan Rotondo got things rolling with a double....

....and from a different angle.

Tournament MVP John Toppa then drove him in, giving the Hawks an early lead.

In the fourth inning, the offense clicked again, as Brady Chant and Andrew Ciaciarelli combined to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead.

With the 2-0 lead holding up into the sixth, the Hawks then broke it open, amidst some hits, LaSalle errors, and a couple of hit batsmen. Two of the hits can be seen here. John Toppa led off the top of the sixth with a triple....

....and Sam Boulanger added a run-scoring single.

By the end of the top of the sixth, the Hawks held a 6-0 lead, and it only seemed a matter of time before we would get to see this:

From another angle -

Junior John Toppa accepted tournament MVP honors....

....and the champs hoisted the trophy.

And, so, we finally come to the end of another successful school year, both academically and athletically. Our graduates are off to some pretty impressive schools, and our undergraduates take another step toward becoming young men and future leaders. We here at The Network had a blast covering Hawks' sports during 2013-'14, and we look to an even better one next year, a year that will probably get started up again in mid-August....and with a brand-new website and expanded operations. 

Congratualtions to all our graduates and all our state champions, and don't forget....

....when Hendricken sports news breaks....The Network fixes it.