The Island Baseball League (IBL), a men’s recreational baseball league based in and around Middletown, RI, began its playoff schedule yesterday afternoon. The IBL features 6 teams and has rosters of players 22 years of age and up. According to their official website, the IBL “is for all men who want to play baseball. Most players have some baseball experience, ranging from little league to the college level. While all players are playing to win, Island Baseball is a recreational league founded on having fun first and foremost. Players of all skill levels are welcome and encouraged to play. Every player, regardless of his skill level, enjoys equal play time and at-bats, and the respect of his teammates for good effort and sportsmanship.” Here is a video showcasing some of the IBL’s history, players, and teams:
Recently, the Island Baseball League’s Twitter page posted a photo of their playoff brackets which included two games yesterday, Sunday October 3rd at 12 noon and 3pm. With the Red Sox scheduled to play at 3pm and the Patriots/Bucs game scheduled for 8:20pm, I had plenty of time to get to at least one of the IBL games. So, I took the short drive from North Kingstown, over the 2 bridges (Jamestown and Newport), past the Old Newport Grand, and onto Green End Ave to land at Berkley-Peckham Field, aka War Memorial Field.
The game was just about to start when I arrived at the field. I parked behind the Middletown Senior Center and found a seat in the bleachers behind home plate. Game time temperature was 69° on Sunday October 3rd. The sun was shining bright, the field was lined for baseball, and the playing conditions were absolutely ideal for a fall baseball playoff game. Game 1 of the IBL playoffs was underway around 12 noon, featuring the #4 seed Royals vs the #5 seed Islanders.
The Island Baseball League is a wood bat league. 2 umpires managed the game – one behind the plate, one in the field. I couldn’t quite make out the ages of the players, but most seem to be closer to their 20s/30s than 50s.
In the first inning of play, an Islanders player hit a home run with a runner on base. As he was circling the bases, he was greeted by the Royals second baseman with a “hi-five.” A friendly gesture from a player playing in a league that has fun as its foundation. Pretty cool first impression.
This is my second trip to Berkley-Peckham Field in Middletown. I stopped to pay my respects at the plaque outside the park honoring fallen local Middletown military servicemen and servicewomen.
In addition to the bleacher seating behind home plate, fans at the IBL playoff game found spots along the left and right field fences. There is plenty of parking (I discovered) at the field itself. Berkley-Peckham Field has a stone wall that forms its perimeter and runs along the side of Green End Ave.
In my opinion, the baseball field was in really good condition. The grass look decent. The infield dirt was groomed. The trees behind the baseball field had yet to look fall-like. Overall, I was very impressed by the field conditions at Berkley-Peckham, especially considering it was October 3rd.
The few innings I watched, the IBL players put on a very entertaining game. There were several home runs hit and not cheap ones either. Both teams put the ball in play consistently. Each pitcher threw strikes and kept the walks to a minimum. Both the Royals and the Islanders made routine plays and even some running catches in the outfield.
In the end, the Islanders prevailed and will move on in the IBL playoffs to face the Navigators. In Game 2, the Storm defeated the Pirates to move on to face the Reds. It was an ideal day for fall baseball and I had a blast watching Royals vs Islanders at Berkley-Peckham Field, Middletown. The skill level on the field convinced me that these guys can still play and play at a very competitive level. All the while, having fun playing baseball on a Sunday afternoon, no matter what age they were. The weather was spectacular for the first weekend in October and I was so thrilled to watch the Island Baseball League live and in a T-shirt and shorts. Good luck to all the players, coaches, and the IBL families on the rest of your season!
For more information on the Island Baseball League, its history, and to catch an upcoming playoff game, visit their official website at www.islandbaseball.com. Or you can follow them on one of their social media pages:
Facebook – Island Baseball League
Twitter – Island Baseball