2006 Rhode Island State Little League® Tournament Results
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Rhode Island State Tournament
Major Baseball Division

Toward the past

Toward the present

Rhode Island State Tournament
Host - King Philip (Bristol) (District 2)
At Roger W. Pigeon Field

Participating Teams
District 1 Champions North Providence East
District 2 Champions Barrington
District 3 Champions Wickford
District 4 Champions Lincoln

Click here to view 2006 district tournament results for Rhode Island.
Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Barrington 2, Lincoln 1
North Providence East 5, Wickford 4

Elimination Bracket Semifinals (four teams remain):
Lincoln 1, Wickford 0 (elim.)

Winner's Bracket Finals:
Barrington 8, North Providence East 1

Elimination Bracket Finals (three teams remain):
Lincoln 11, North Providence East 2 (elim.)

Championship Series:
Lincoln 5, Barrington 1
Lincoln 5, Barrington 3 (TITLE)


Lincoln Little League won four consecutive games after an opening round loss in the Rhode Island state tournament at King Philip Little League's Roger W. Pigeon Field in Bristol, and in the process earned its sixth state championship in an eight-year span.

But while Lincoln's summer began as yet another accolade-filled season of triumph, the ending was devastating.

Four weeks to the day after the Little League World Series came to a close, longtime volunteer and all-star team manager Randy Hien was killed in a roadside accident in Lincoln. Hien had pulled his truck over to the side of a local street to tend to something in the bed of his truck, and was struck by a passing motorist shortly after exiting his vehicle. A Lincoln volunteer for three decades, and by all accounts a revered member of both the league and of Providence's local music scene, Hien was 57 years old.

Lincoln won many titles under Hien's guidance, both as a manager and as a coach working with the late Lou Abraham. After a tournament-clinching victory, Hien's custom was to step back, and let his players have the stage to themselves in the moment of victory.

The details of Lincoln's state tournament triumph seem irrelevant in light of the tragedy that followed. But in the context of the Lincoln manager's custom, there is much to tell about Lincoln's sixth state championship summer.

* * * * * * * * *

Lincoln had high expectations coming into the 2007 international tournament -- the team's goal was nothing less than to win the Rhode Island crown -- and the longtime power lived up to those expectations with a stunning 53-2 run differential in District 4 competition.

But Lincoln faced a tough Barrington Little League team in its state tournament opener, and fell into the bottom bracket after dropping a 2-1 decision to the District 2 champions. Lincoln ace Ryan O'Dell started the game strongly, retiring the first six hitters he faced, but a catchers' interference call to start the third inning set the stage for a two out, two-run single by Brenden McNaught that delivered Barrington's only runs of the game. Joe Hamilton's solo home run in the sixth halved the deficit, but Lincoln stranded six baserunners, and managed just three hits against Barrington pitchers Justin Finan and Brenden McNaught.

"We had a feeling they were good," Hien told reporters after the game. "I saw their pitcher (Finan) last year, and he was good. I knew we were going to face him, and (that) he would be a son of a gun."

Finan allowed only Joe Hamilton's fourth inning home run in 4-2/3 innings, and Brenden McNaught escaped a fifth inning jam before retiring the side in order in the sixth.

"Lincoln has been here so many times, and besides last year, we hadn't been here for 30 years," said Barrington manager Ed McNaught, whose team finished third in the 2005 Rhode Island state tournament. "For us to beat them was pretty special."

But the Barrington manager knew Lincoln was still in the hunt despite the loss.

"I just told my (team), plan on seeing these guys again," he added. "They'll come back with a vengeance."

Lincoln did exactly that, eliminating two opponents to earn a rematch in the championship series. The District 4 champions edged Wickford Little League, 1-0 -- Jon Pickering struck out 12 and allowed only two hits in 5-1/3 innings pitched -- and then used a seven run fourth inning rally to top North Providence East Little League, 11-2. Lincoln trailed 2-1 against North Providence before Cody Phillips' long home run tied the game and sparked a rally in which ten batters came to the plate. Kyle Jackson's opposite field single pushed Lincoln into the lead, then Hamilton's three-run double broke the game open. O'Dell relieved starter Steve Marcello in the second inning and allowed only two hits while striking out eight in the next four innings.

"The pitching in this tournament from all four teams has been phenomenal," said Hien. "We only scored one run against Barrington and one against Wickford, so I was waiting for a breakout kind of game."

The wins pushed Lincoln into the championship series, where the District 4 champions edged Barrington twice to take the title. Pickering's three-hitter helped to deliver a 5-1 win in the first game, and Lincoln scored all of its runs with two outs in a 5-3 championship game win.

Lincoln traditionally carries a full roster of fourteen players on its all-star team roster, and got key contributions off the bench in its tournament-clinching win. Marcello, a Lincoln substitute, started the go-ahead rally with a double in the fourth inning. Special pinch runner Brendon Reddington then scored when reserve Nick Zammarelli doubled off the right field fence. Jackson, who'd delivered a two-run homer earlier, followed with a single to center field to put Lincoln in front for good.

"We pride ourselves on being a team of fourteen kids," explained Hien after the win. "Every kid performs. They know they're under the microscope when they go out there (but) we can't wait to get them in."

Ethan Studley had given Barrington a 3-2 lead with a three-run homer in the third inning.

"We got the lead but they just kept pecking away," said Ed McNaught. "That's a great team over there. You're not going to keep them down for long."

O'Dell allowed singles to the first two hitters he faced in the title game, but settled down and allowed only five hits before changing positions in the fifth inning after reaching the strict 80-pitch limit placed on him by Lincoln's coaches. Reliever Marcus Murray sealed the win by retiring all five hitters he faced.

"(Murray) throws a devastating curve," explained Hien. "As far as I'm concerned, he was a perfect alternative to Ryan. Ryan was out there throwing hard, and then here comes Marcus throwing the slow, tantalizing curve."

"This Barrington team is as good as any team we're going to face this summer," added the Lincoln manager. "I feel very fortunate to be leaving here as state champs."

"This never gets old," said Hien. "Just the opposite. This is the best tournament there is, the Rhode Island state championship.”

* * * * * * * * *

To the outsider, Lincoln's string of triumphs -- ten district championships in eleven years, six state titles, and two trips to the Little League World Series -- will form the bulk of Randy Hien's legacy. But by all accounts, Hien's impact on his league and community extend much deeper than the championship flags won by his teams.

"Randy was many different things to many different people," said Providence musician Mike Delehanty, who, like many local musicians, knew Hien through his ownership of the Living Room, a Providence music venue. "He reached out and touched many different lives in our community."

“I admired him not for all the wins and championships,” said Rhode Island District 4 Administrator Pat Freaney. “I admired him for being the kind of man I’d like to be. That I’d like my boy to be. I admired and respected him for his unwavering love of children.”

Randy Hien first worked with Lincoln's Little League program in the late 1970s, when his son Charlie was playing and the league asked for coaching volunteers.

“I’ve known him for 28 years,” said Paul Prachniak, Lincoln’s Parks and Recreation Director. “The way he carried himself was almost too good to be true... He was fair, a good sport, and was always honest. All the virtues you would want in someone who deals with kids.”

"He wasn't a disciplinarian," said Lincoln president John Sharkey. "He would just communicate with each kid like nobody else, one-on-one. He wasn't a yeller. He'd always say 'I like that kid'."

"He never, never said a discouraging word about a kid, ever," observed Prachniak. "I'd try to bait him, get him to say something bad, but he'd always say 'Nah, he's an angel,' or 'He'll be allright.'"

That approach extended not only to players passing through Lincoln's Little League program, but also to musicians who crossed Hien's path at the Living Room.

"Randy was an amazing character, a sensitive guy in a mean business," said musician Bill Flanagan. "He was a kind, sweet man who got into it because he loved music, and that love never left him."

“I couldn’t believe that the guy was a real guy,” said Providence singer/songwriter Mark Cutler, who first met Hien in the late 1970s. “But he ended up being the real thing.

“He was such a nurturer,” added Cutler. “He gave anyone a chance. It wasn’t about quality of music with him, it was quality of character. If you showed him a little, he gave you a lot.”

Perhaps the highest profile example of this philosophy was after Hien's horrific accident in February 2004. While driving home in the early morning hours following a show at his club, Hien's vehicle was struck head-on by a drunk driver traveling the wrong way up a highway entrance ramp. Hien was in a coma for four days following the accident, and suffered massive injuries, the effects of which he still grappled with two years later. Yet Hien was by his wife's side just weeks later when she delivered the couple's third child, and was with his team for Lincoln's season-opening parade in April.

He was also in court at the other driver's sentencing hearing, asking the judge for leniency.

"I told the judge I didn't want to see him go to jail," Hien told a reporter in an interview several months after the accident. "He's not a drunk. He just made a mistake that night. I think he deserved a break."

The judge agreed, and handed down a sentence that avoided jail time for the other motorist.

"For him to go through what he did and the way he responded is certainly a testament to him," said Sharkey.

Through the painful recovery from the accident and its aftermath, Hien kept his considerable sense of humor.

"I said to someone earlier this year that our Little League team would go to the World Series and that the Red Sox were gonna win the World Series," Hien told a reporter in November 2004. "He said he thought the accident damaged my brain. But look what happened!"

Randy Hien is survived by his wife, Patti, and seven children. His extended family includes scores of other individuals whose lives he enriched in ways both large and small.

“Some people are just good at growing things,” wrote Mike Boehm, who covered the local music scene for the Providence Journal-Bulletin in the late 1980s, in one of many online tributes to Randy Hien. “They’re the ones we all remember.”

Follow Lincoln at the New England Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.


  Elimination Bracket Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Lincoln 0 0 0 1 7 3 11 - -
North Providence East 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 - -
  Championship Series Game 1
Lincoln 0 2 0 0 0 3 5 10 1
Barrington 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 0
  Championship Series Game 2
Lincoln 0 2 0 2 1 0 5 6 0
Barrington 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 5 0

Toward the past

Toward the present

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Last revision: 06/10/2007