The Providence Slugfest Showcase Tournament has always been a huge draw for baseball players, coaches, leagues, and families in years past. This highly competitive showcase tournament has featured in upwards of 100 teams or more in years past from RI, MA, CT, NY, and many more regional states. This season, like most organizations, host Providence Sports and Leadership needed the State of Rhode Island to enter Phase 3 of their ReOpening RI plan for the tournament to happen. Providence Sports and Leadership, based in Providence, is “A YOUTH ATHLETIC AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION, INSPIRES AND SUPPORTS PROMISING YOUTH TO BE LEADERS AND CHAMPIONS IN THEIR COMMUNITY AND IN LIFE, BY PROVIDING THEM WITH LIFE SKILLS FOR CONTINUED SUCCESS.,” based on their mission statement on their website, www.pslinc.org.
Through my amazing Rhode Island Baseball community on social media, I was able to get a schedule of games through Tourney Machine. Tourney Machine is a great app for sports leagues and it provided me with the teams, schedules, field locations, and more for Providence Slugfest. Thursday afternoon, I traveled to Providence’s Central High School and Providence Career & Technical Academy just off Cranston and Westminster St. I walked up to the field via the walking track, which is located in very deep center field. L & M Baseball’s 2022/2023 team was playing a team from CT (CT Gamecocks). I snapped a few photos from outside the fence on the third base line and then headed behind home plate. Sitting in the corner, in the shade, watching the games was L & M Baseball Founder/Program Director Idris Liasu. We chatted about all things baseball and joked around a bit, as baseball guys tend to do. Also watching the game, from the other side of the fencing, was Providence Sports and Leadership Coach Franklin Salcedo. Coach Salcedo works with the 18U Prospect Team and we spoke about PSL and its impact on the baseball communities around Providence. Two amazing baseball minds – Liasu and Salcedo – and the youth of RI is lucky to have them working with them and coaching baseball.
Friday, I made my way up to Fay Memorial Field in Cranston. Fay is located down Dallas Ave, just off Warwick Ave. Dallas Ave is a narrow, residential street so you have to be very careful driving down to the field area. Fay does have a parking lot area and you can also find some overflow parking right on Dallas Ave, so long as you are not blocking the street or someone’s driveway. When I pulled up to the game, I ran into L & M Baseball’s Coach Bobby Bordieri and we chatted a bit about the 15U team and their prospects. One of my longtime North Kingstown Wickford Little League buddies has a son, who is a fantastic play, that plays for L & M Baseball, Robbie Lamond. I know another incredible player from the LLWS Coventry Little League, Jake Mather, also plays for Coach Bordieri. I always appreciate Coaches taking some time to speak to me about their players and their passion for baseball. I got out to the field area and took a few game photos of a team from Boston vs a team from CT. I chatted with a few families and we talked about baseball and life in general. A nice couple from Boston, Felipe and Sonya, were seated in the shade just outside the third base dugouts. We had a great talk about baseball, Boston, diversity, and so much more. Great people and I wished them well as I left Fay.
I headed north to Pierce Field, East Providence for a 12:45 game between Providence Sports & Leadership and a team from Long Island, NY. It was a dry, hot, very sunny day and I neglected to wear a hat, which I paid for in getting a really bad sunburn on my face. At the game, I met up with Bryan Murray, who is the Regional Evaluator for Area Scouts. Area Scouts is all about “athlete development, professional evaluations, and injury prevention, in addition to helping players get national exposure,” according to their website, www.areascoutsri.com. Bryan and I exchanged cards and baseball stories, of course, as we watched the game live at Pierce.
I walked around Pierce and ran into Tolman High School Baseball Head Coach Theo Murray, who was working the admin table behind home plate. We chatted a bit, but I didn’t want to disturb his scorekeeping or work. I walked out to the left field area and spoke to a few parents.
16U Providence Slugfest schedule of games wrapped up Friday, July 31st and the 18U games will be played Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 2. I spoke to Coach Murray about playoffs or seeding and he wasn’t sure how that was going to work. I’ll keep checking the Tourney Machine app for more information. It was a great two days of 16U baseball featuring top baseball teams from the Northeast on some of Rhode Island’s best baseball fields. For more information about Providence Slugfest, Providence Sports and Leadership, go to www.pslinc.org. And I look forward to going to the 18U games over the weekend.