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The 2022 Rhode Island Interscholastic League Baseball season officially concluded this past Sunday, June 19th after an exciting weekend of championship baseball. Starting with the 40° afternoons in April, through the rainy May days, and into the heat of June, high school teams from all over Rhode Island pitched, hit, caught, and competed in a mostly typical, normal Spring baseball schedule of games. Teams got a typical “spring training” pre-season, had a chance to conduct team tryouts, and run practices prior to the regular season. A welcomed return to normalcy after nearly 3 seasons of schedule changes, game cancellations, and a lot of uncertainty as to when or if a season would happen. And with that, I marked my calendar with a gigantic roster of games, players to catch before they go off to college (some even to the pros), and a ton of Rhode Island Baseball Experiences to capture. Here is what I saw in 2022 through my lens, what I jotted down in my notebook, and why 2022 produced some of the best Rhode Island High School baseball I have witnessed in years. (Any highlighted links will take you to a blog post I wrote about the game.)

April 2nd – Prout vs South Kingstown, Old Mountain Field, Wakefield. Windy day, 45°, fans were wearing winter hats, winter jackets. Injury Fund game, so the players started off with a 1-1 count at the plate. SK’s Ben Brutti, the RI Gatorade Player of the Year, started at first base.

April 15th – North Kingstown vs Mt Hope, Guiteras Field, Bristol. Sunny, warm, 61° day, April Vacation early game (great to catch a game before work.) Lot of stars in this game – Evan Maloney, TJ Gormley, AJ Jones, my old NKHS history teacher Mr. Verria.

April 16th – Bishop Hendricken vs LaSalle Academy, Pepin Field, BHHS, Warwick. Windy day despite 60° temps made it feel like 35°. LaSalle was aggressive at the plate and on the base paths. 2021 RI Gatorade Player of the Year BHHS C Brayden Durand did not disappoint, he is a legit athlete and baseball prospect.

April 20th – East Providence vs Central High School, Pierce Field, East Providence. Temps back in the 50s with a big time wind howling. I got to sit in one of the “red seats” behind home plate. Baseball legends in the dugouts – EP’s Bobby Rodericks; Central’s Dave Hanson, Kenny Wnuk

April 21st – North Providence vs Tolman High School, McConnon Field, Pawtucket. 56° and yes windy again here in Pawtucket. Got to meet Central Falls AD Anthony Ficocelli, whose son Mike cranked a 3-run homer in the game. Also, read the plaque commemorating the Andreozzi Tournament.

April 22nd – Barrington vs Middletown, Barrington. Beautiful 65° day, tons of blue skies and two talented teams on the field. Barrington bats were swinging first pitch, peppering the outfield corners, and they jumped out to an early lead in the game.

April 30th – Portsmouth Abbey vs Berwick Academy, Portsmouth Abbey. 56°, patchy clouds, sun feels great, and wow this Portsmouth Abbey campus is absolutely incredible. Manual scoreboard, bustling campus activities, fantastic baseball game. One of my favorite games all season.

May 7th – Cranston East vs Cumberland High School, Cranston Stadium. Most cloudy, 51°, very windy day at the Stadium, one of my favorite ball parks to visit. Cumberland’s Michael Bradshaw threw a gem, an effortless performance against a really good team.

May 14th – Coventry vs Pilgrim High School, Mezzanotte Field, Warwick. A balmy 77° degree May afternoon for two RI baseball powerhouses. Missed Coventry’s Tommy Turner on the mound but he did play CF. Jake Mather, his longtime catcher, pitched. Ran into Coach Bob Downey, now a Coventry Assistant HC.

May 21st – Narragansett vs Johnston High School. Rain the night before made it a challenge and a half to get the game in. 65° and overcast skies to start the game, well over 72° and 100% humidity to end the game. A ton of hard hit balls by both teams, very entertaining game.

June 4th – North Smithfield vs Davies Career and Technical, Davies, Lincoln. 59°, overcast skies, early playoff game for chance to move on to the state finals for Division 3. Close game, lot of heart and hustle showcased by each team. North Smithfield moves on with a win, then beat Classical to win the RIIL Division 3 State Championship.

The game of the year for me was Westerly vs Narragansett, Game 2 of the RIIL Division 2 State Finals. Westerly’s Dean Pons threw a calm, collected, 7 inning masterpiece in his final game as a Westerly Bulldog. The Narragansett bats and entire team fought all game long against Pons and Westerly, getting on base, making things stressful. The score could have gone either way for the entire game. In the end, Westerly plated more runners and won Game 2. Then followed up with another great performance on Sunday to win the 2022 RIIL Division 2 State Championships.

Here are your 2022 Rhode Island Interscholastic League State Baseball Champions:

Division 1 – North Kingstown High School
Division 2 – Westerly High School
Division 3 – North Smithfield High School

Congratulations to all the players, coaches, families, schools, fans, friends, and faculty members who helped make the 2022 RIIL High School Baseball season such a huge success for so many. It was amazing for me to see the immense talent of Rhode Island baseball on display from South Kingstown to Lincoln to RIC and every single field in between. I got to personally watch some very bright stars of the RI Baseball Community who in the very near future will be playing collegiate and maybe even professional baseball. This season exposed what I and a lot of baseball people already know. Rhode Island baseball is a force to be reckoned with not only here in New England, but on the national stage as well. For all the graduating seniors, best of luck in the next steps of your baseball and life journey. For the underclassmen baseball players of Rhode Island, take another look at the State Champions photographed above – they are the team you will be chasing in 2023. What an awesome Rhode Island Baseball Experience it is to play high school baseball here in Rhode Island. Wow!!!

Published by theribbe

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.

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