The RI/MA AAU Baseball Spring Classic (1 of 2) Tournament is/was being played in several locations throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts this weekend. One of them is North Kingstown’s Ryan Park. Ryan Park is located off Oak Hill Rd and is just about 10 minutes from my home in North Kingstown. I am very familiar with the park and nature and dirt trails surrounding the fields, so I was excited to see baseball and fans and others enjoying Ryan Park as much as my family has over the years. On Saturday, I stopped by to watch a tournament game featuring the 12U RI Renegades. I arrived shortly after the game started, around 12:20 or so.
There are several multi-use and softball fields located at Ryan Park. For the Spring Classic Tournament, there were two fields designated for play – Field 1 and Field 4. On Field 1, the RI Rays 12U team was competing against a team from MA. I parked in the lower lot and took the walk in the outfield area of another field, where a softball team was practicing. Across from the softball practice, kids were playing in the playground and families were set up under trees watching their kids play baseball. It was really awesome to see the park so alive with activity. When I finally made it up to Field 4, I could see a nice crowd had gathered around the perimeter of the backstop and along the base lines next to the dugouts.
The weather was absolutely ideal for baseball. Sunny skies, just a few clouds passing by here and there. Temps were climbing into the low 70’s. There was a slight breeze which was comfortable. Nothing like the gale force winds we have been experiencing here lately in Rhode Island. This was a nice breeze, not a nasty, cold, knocking down the umbrella on the deck breeze. The players were playing on a skinned field or dirt infield, which means there is no infield grass between the baselines. There was a portable mound set up because that particular field is designed more for softball with a flat mound, not raised like a traditional youth baseball field would have. The base paths, outfield area, backstop, fencing, 9 players on defense, 2 umpires – everything else resembled a typical youth baseball league field.
As I was writing down some notes and taking photos, I realized that it was about 25 minutes after I had arrived and the RI Renegades were still at bat. The game started at 12:15, I arrived around 12:20, it was now about 12:45, and the Renegades were hitting like crazy. Balls were finding gaps. Balls were hit over the outfielder’s heads. Balls were lined past the infielders. Batter after batter, great swings on the baseball. I was really impressed by these 12U Renegades and the offensive show they put on display for friends and family.
One player I was very happy to spot on the RI Renegades team was Noah Antunes. He was wearing number 28 with his last name “Antunes” on the back of his jersey. I checked the 12U RI Renegades roster on the Tourney Machine app and spotted his name on the roster. A few years back, I attended at “Wiffle at Whipple” tournament at Smithfield Little League’s Whipple Field in support of #noahstrong and was so thrilled to see Noah out there on the field playing baseball. I hope that he is doing well and by the looks of it, he is contributing big time to the success of the RI Renegades team.
The 12U RI Renegades ended up winning the game and are sitting atop the 12U Tournament brackets alongside the RI Rays and two teams from MA at 2-0. With weather iffy and rainy on Sunday, there may be some game delays for the completion of the Spring Classic. You can check game schedules, brackets, and results on the official tournament page at RI/MA Spring Classic Tournament #1.
I had a great visit to North Kingstown’s Ryan Park for the 2021 RI/MA Spring Classic Tournament. Best of luck to the RI Renegades and RI Rays on Sunday, weather permitting.
The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.