Yesterday, in Rhode Island collegiate baseball action, four teams with a ton of familiarity faced each other. Rhode Island College faced UMass-Dartmouth and Salve Regina hosted Roger Williams. All four college baseball teams feature players from Rhode Island who have played youth baseball, middle school, high school, travel ball, and showcase tournaments with or against each other for countless years growing up. It is always one of the more interesting notes I make at any college or amateur league game I attend – The Rhode Island baseball connection. And today’s Rhode Island Interscholastic League schedule of baseball games is taking this concept to a whole new level.
Of the 11 games scheduled for today, Thursday April 28th, an astonishing 9 games are what I would consider neighborhood, quite potentially rival high school baseball games. High Schools that sit around 10 miles or less from each other. High Schools with youth baseball leagues in the same district for Little League. Some players from these neighboring schools even play on the same AAU, travel, and showcase teams. These are the key High School games which are unofficially circled on the calendars of Head Coaches, Players, Parents, Alumni, Athletic Directors, and tons of community fans weeks in advance of the game. Here is the breakdown of just how neighborly these games look on paper based on the distance between the two schools:
- Cranston West vs Cranston East – 2.7 miles
- Burrillville vs Ponaganset – 9 miles
- East Greenwich vs Bishop Hendricken – 10 miles
- La Salle vs East Providence – 7 miles
- Pilgrim vs Tollgate – 7 miles
- Moses Brown vs. Barrington – 10 miles
- Tolman vs Shea – 1.4 miles
- Smithfield vs Lincoln – 8 miles
- North Kingstown vs South Kingstown – 10 miles
To compare, Coventry will travel nearly 35 miles today to play Cumberland, as will Central High School travel about 35 miles to Middletown. Still, a very manageable drive for Coventry and Central High School student athletes and their team’s entourages to watch a great baseball game. Plus, it is worth noting that many Rhode Island based AAU and travel teams are made up of players from all over Rhode Island.
Today should be a pretty awesome day for these Rhode Island High School baseball teams. Rhode Island maybe a small state but it has a huge baseball community. And these neighborhood, potentially rivalry games ratchet up the intensity on the field, in the dugouts, and in the stands – making these some of the best Rhode Island Baseball Experiences we all love and cherish!!!
Good luck to all the players, coaches, schools, and families today!