About a month or so ago, I met up with Dave Antunes at a Bryant University Baseball game. I met his son Noah, who was also attending the Bryant game to throw out the first pitch in their Coaches vs Cancer game against LIU. In talking with Dave, he mentioned that his older son, Matt, was a Varsity player for the Smithfield High School team. And since I have been attending Senior Night High School games around Rhode Island, I got a message from Amy Antunes about Smithfield’s Senior Night. Because of work commitments, unfortunately I don’t get attend as many games as I would like. But, as luck would have it, I was off this past Friday and decided to take the drive up to Smithfield High School to observe Smithfield’s Senior Night game vs. Moses Brown.
From my home in North Kingstown, I took 95N to 295N, got stuck in Friday traffic coming off Route 37, then again around the Route 6 connector, then smooth sailing/driving to the Route 44/Smithfield exit. Just a short drive to Cedar Swamp Road, then left onto Pleasant View Ave and right into the parking lot for Smithfield High School. The fences of the track and field area, Boyle Athletic Complex, were lined with photos of Smithfield High School Seniors. A very cool entrance and a great way to honor the Class of 2021. The parking lot was pretty full when I arrived around 4:55pm, just a few minutes before the 5pm game time start. I was hoping to catch a little bit of the Senior ceremony, but was happy to arrive at least for the first pitch.
The smoldering hot temperatures of this week had subsided and it was a nice, comfortable evening for baseball. The clouds were the story in the sky, very overcast, and spread out over the entire space above. Not much wind to speak of, so overall conditions were very favorable for baseball. When I arrived, there was already a decent crowd – in the bleachers, behind the third base/Smithfield dugout, and in the left field hilly area. Fans and families had attached photos of their Senior Student Athlete to the backstop for all to observe and honor on Senior Night. I loved reading all the nicknames and seeing the photos. Great originality there!!! Cameras were out, the families and friends were all gathered for one last regular season home game. An emotional and uplifting atmosphere for these players to get one final cheer and standing ovation from their loved ones.
I visited Smithfield High School prior to the 2021 Spring Season and just loved the view from atop the left field/third base area. From behind the backstop, you have to walk on sort of an angle up past the third base dugout to get to this hilly area. But once you get there, you really get some amazing views of the field and I was able to get some photos and a video up there during the Smithfield vs Moses Brown game.
After a few innings on the hill, I headed back to the home plate area, just to the right of the catcher’s view. Like in most of the Senior Night games I have attended, the first inning or two of the game is so filled with emotions, anxiety perhaps, and some tightness on the field. Hey, its the last baseball game you will play at your home field and for some of these players, that means 4 years of baseball and memories and Mom and Dad pacing behind the dugout. So, I can totally understand why the nerves are there. But after the first inning or so, both teams really calmed down and played a solid baseball game. Here a few photos I took behind home plate.
Fans continued to find other fans and family members throughout the half innings to congratulate them. The bleacher section was mostly filled, from what I could see, with student athletes, whereas the parents were mostly in lawn chairs around the backstop area and up on the left field hills. Overall, it was a really fun game to watch. The weather was comfortable, the field looked great, awesome night for baseball in Smithfield. Moses Brown got off to an early 3-0 lead. Then Smithfield had a big inning to take the lead 7-3. When I checked the score on my GameChanger app this Saturday morning, I saw that Smithfield did maintain their lead and ended up winning the game on their Senior Night. Final score – Smithfield 13 – Moses Brown 3. Congratulations to all the Smithfield and Moses Brown Seniors on graduating this year. Best of luck to you and your families. And thanks to Dave and Amy Antunes for inviting me to Smithfield’s Senior Night.
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