The Autumn Baseball League kicked off its fall baseball schedule of games on Saturday, September 10th here in Rhode Island and in Massachusetts. I follow a number of teams playing in the ABL as a “fan” on GameChanger, one of them being the Ocean State Outlaws. Coach Phil Dupras is a frequent contributor to the Rhode Island Baseball Experience pages and I reached out to him Saturday about his Outlaws in the ABL. He mentioned that he would be playing a doubleheader Sunday (yesterday) at Ardoene Park, Providence vs Elmwood WP (Washington Park). As I have yet to catch a game at Ardoene, I circled that game on my calendar and headed over to Google Maps for directions.
I remembered I had visited Ardoene Field a few years ago on a non-game day. So I needed a refresher on Google Maps to plot my course for Sunday mornings ABL game. From my home in North Kingstown, it was an easy route – Route 4 to Route 95 to the Roger Williams Park Zoo exit, left at the bottom of the ramp, passed the Zoo, and then left on Roger Williams Ave. I made a right onto Narragansett Ave and parked just passed the basketball courts and the left field corner of Ardoene Field, home of Elmwood Little League’s Junior and Senior Division. Overall, very easy to get to and I headed over to the baseball field, where the Outlaws and Elmwood players were finishing their pre-game warmups.
Ardoene Park had a basketball court and game going on at 9:55 on Sunday when I arrived. There is also a playground and huge grassy area opposite the baseball field. It was a partly cloudy day, no rain forecasted, and 71° as I walked over to Coach Dupras in the first base dugout to say hello. We chatted a bit about his games on Saturday and the Outlaws schedule for the fall in the ABL as well as upcoming tournaments. It was great catching up with Phil and we agreed to stay in contact throughout the fall season. As I am a fan of the Outlaws on GC, I didn’t have to write down his lineup for the game. Here are the players and their positions for the Outlaws, per the GC app:
- Godin, SS
- Figueroa, C
- Violette, 2B
- Laboy, CF
- Dupras, LF
- Scorpio, RF
- Garabedian, 1B
- Daley, P
- Tejada, 3B
I walked over to the Elmwood WP dugout and said hello and asked for their lineup. A parent or scorekeeper from the stands greeted me with his lineup and I snapped a photo of it:
Game time was set for 10am and first pitch was about 10:10 or so. Elmwood WP took the field first with Lugo on the mound. I took a spot initially in the bleachers just to the right of home plate, up a slight incline. From this vantage point, you could see the pitcher and batter but the field view was a bit obstructed by the first base dugout. One thing I noticed right away was the short backstop or distance from home plate to the backstop fence. This is an important distance to log as a third base coach for passed balls/wild pitches when you have runners on base. Typically, fields with short backstops have less stolen bases in the games due to balls getting passed the catcher. Another thing I noticed was the giant netting that stretched from the backstop passed the first base bag along the perimeter fence. This safety feature not only saves fans from getting hurt via foul ball line drives, but also saves a lot of baseballs from flying into the adjacent neighborhood.
Daley took the mound in the Bottom of the 1st for the Outlaws. The sun was still tucked behind a pretty thick layer of clouds as I sat and watched the next few innings from the bleachers. I took a peak out into left field and wondered what the distance was to the outfield fence. Then I stood up and took a peak at right field, which seemed to be a bit further out. I was curious to see some other views of Ardoene, so I headed out to right field. My eyes were not deceiving me – left field was definitely closer than right field. I was able to get a much better view of the game from just past the first base bag area.
As I tend to do at ball parks I visit, I like to walk the perimeter of the field to get some additional views and check out the landscape of the park. The basketball game I witnessed driving up to the baseball field was still going on. The court sits just passed the baseball field in like left/left centerfield viewing area. There were a number of giant trees located just passed the center field fence which gave me some shade and a fantastic view of the field. As I walked around the outfield perimeter and out onto Narragansett Ave, you can clearly see the field from neighboring houses and businesses. A train passed by on the opposite side of Narragansett Ave as I was walked back towards the entrance to the baseball field. It kind of had a minor league baseball field feel to it, so that was pretty cool. (This morning I was able to chart the outfield fence distances – 260 to LF, 322 to CF, and 318 to RF.)
I took a spot right up against the fence next to the Elmwood WP dugout to watch another inning or two of the game. Both Lugo (Elmwood WP) and Daley (Outlaws) were still in the game and pitching well enough to keep their teams in the game. Not too many hard hit balls from the time I spend watching the game, but both teams were making good contact – it just so happened the balls were being hit right to the opposing fielders. That’s going to happen at any level of baseball.
As I had Sunday plans at home, I went over and said good-bye to Coach Dupras and the coaches at Elmwood WP before heading out. But, not soon after taking my last photo, my streak of catching or retrieving foul balls at baseball games continued as ball hit a tree I was standing under. I grab it and handed it to the Elmwood WP Manager. The streak continues!!!
It was a great Sunday morning of ABL baseball at Ardoene Park, Providence featuring Elmwood WP vs Ocean State Outlaws. Overall, it was a pretty fast moving game with a lot of baseballs put in play and some good pitching. The sun tried a few times to bust through the clouds but overall stayed hidden for the hour or so I was in Providence. Ardoene Park, including the baseball field, was very busy on Sunday with a pickup basketball game and the playground in use. The baseball field was in good shape including the grassy outfield and infield areas. I really enjoyed my time at Ardoene and it was great to see Coach Dupras and meet some of the Elmwood WP coaches.
For more information on the Autumn Baseball League, head over to http://www.autumnbaseballleague.com.