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|District 1 Champions |
District 2 Champions
District 3 Champions
District 4 Champions
Cranston Western 7, Rumford 5 (11 innings)
Lincoln 7, Chariho 1
Loser's Bracket Semifinals:
Chariho 11, Rumford 0 (4 innings, 10-run rule; elim.)
Winner's Bracket Finals:
Cranston Western 12, Lincoln 9
Loser's Bracket Finals:
Lincoln 10, Chariho 7 (elim.)
Cranston Western 1, Lincoln 0 (TITLE)
Cranston Western became the first Rhode Island Little League program to win three consecutive titles with a trio of tense victories in the 1998 tournament.
Cranston, which won the U.S. championship following its 1996 Rhode Island title, edged Rumford 7-5 in eleven innings in the state tourney opener, and then won a pair of decisions against Lincoln to claim the title. Five of Lincoln's six losses in state tournament play in the last three years have been to Cranston Western, including two ten-inning losses and a 1-0 decision in this year's title game.
Cranston's Jim Malachowski and Rumford's Joe Szylin dueled each other pitch for pitch in Cranston Western's extra-inning opening round win. Malachowski showed no effects from the twelve day lull between Cranston's District 1 Tournament clinching win and the state tourney opener, as he struck out 13 and walked only three in nine innings of work. Szylin, who gave way to Colin Winter in the ninth, struck out ten and allowed only one walk.
Rumford took an early 2-0 lead on Brian Lundstrom's RBI single in the second, but Cranston rallied for three in the fifth. Scott Boyle's RBI double plated the first run, and John Mollicone's sacrifice fly tied the game. Boyle later scored on a balk that gave Cranston its first lead of the game.
Winters' sacrifice fly brought Rumford back into a tie in the sixth, and both teams' pitchers shut down the opposing offenses until the eleventh. In that inning, Cranston used the bunt at key junctures in its four run rally, and Rumford's two-run response fell short.
In the other opening round matchup, Lincoln's Stephen Holmes sparked his team offensively with a grand slam over the right-center field fence in the second, and his RBI double in the fourth paced Lincoln in its 7-1 win over Chariho. Holmes was also the winning pitcher, turning in a complete game, five-hit performance.
Chariho, which won its first district title in over 40 years in 1998, used a nine-run third inning to eliminate Rumford in the loser's bracket semifinals. Andrew Hartman (grand slam), Andy O'Connell (three-run shot), and winning pitcher Charlie Simons (solo homer) all homered in the inning.
Cranston Western and Lincoln then met for the fourth time in three years in the winner's bracket finals. In 1997, Cranston outlasted Lincoln 5-4 in ten innings in the winner's bracket finals before defeating Wickford for the title. This year, Cranston overcame a 4-3 deficit with a seven run rally in the bottom of the third inning, and after Lincoln closed the gap to 10-9 in the fifth, Cranston pushed across two insurance runs for their 12-9 win. Boyle and David Sprague had RBI doubles early for Cranston in the win, and Sprague drove in two runs during the third inning outburst. Peter Kurczy homered for Lincoln.
After being victimized by the seven-run rally in the loss to Cranston, Lincoln turned the tables and used a seven-run fifth to eliminate Chariho 10-7. Chariho led 7-4 in the fifth inning when Lincoln mounted its assault. Andy Balon's three-run capped the seven run rally by driving in Alex Jzyk, Luke Abraham, and Steve Brown. Abraham had singled home two runs earlier in the inning, and Brown drove home a third. Chariho's twelve hit attack was led by Pat Turcotte, who was 3-for-4 at the plate, while Lincoln's Holmes homered for the second consecutive game.
Seven-run rallies gave way to stellar pitching performances in the title game. Holmes rose to the occasion with a two-hitter, but Cranston Western made an early run hold up in its 1-0 victory.
Cranston's first-inning run was sparked by a lead-off single. After the hit, Boyle reached on a fielder's choice, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third when Mollicone reached on an error (the only miscue of the day), and scored when Mollicone was intentionally caught in a rundown on a delayed double steal.
After that point, Cranston generated little offense against Holmes. The Lincoln pitcher allowed only one hit -- Nick Myrtle's second-inning double -- and two baserunners over the last five innings. Malachowski allowed seven hits and a pair of walks for Cranston Western, but Lincoln was unable to cash in on their opportunities. Cranston played errorless defense, and the Lincoln offense stranded eight runners.
Cranston Western's three consecutive state titles gives the league four overall (the other was in 1979) and ties Middletown and Pawtucket Darlington American for the most state titles won by any Rhode Island program.
Follow Cranston Western at the Eastern Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.
Opening Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E Cranston Western 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 7 13 5 Rumford 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 5 9 3 Opening Round Chariho 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 2 Lincoln 0 5 0 2 0 x 7 6 0 Loser's Bracket Semifinals Rumford 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 Chariho 2 0 9 x 11 8 0 Winner's Bracket Finals Lincoln 0 1 3 2 3 0 9 11 1 Cranston Western 2 1 7 0 2 x 12 10 4 Loser's Bracket Finals Chariho 3 1 1 0 2 0 7 12 1 Lincoln 2 0 1 0 7 x 10 11 4 Championship Game Cranston Western 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 Lincoln 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
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Last revision: 06/18/2002