2014 Rhode Island State Little League® Tournament Results
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Rhode Island State Tournament
Major Baseball Division

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Rhode Island State Tournament
Host - King Philip (Bristol) (District 2)
At Veterans Park

Veterans Park is located at the intersection of Creek Lane and Wood Street in Bristol.

Participating Teams
District 1 Champions Cranston Western
District 2 Champions Portsmouth
District 3 Champions Coventry American
District 4 Champions Cumberland American

Click here to view 2014 district tournament results for Rhode Island.

Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Cranston Western 3, Portsmouth 0
Cumberland American 5, Coventry American 4 (7 innings)

Elimination Bracket Semifinal (four teams remain):
Coventry American 12, Portsmouth 0 (elim.)

Winner's Bracket Final:
Cumberland American 17, Cranston Western 4 (5 innings)

Elimination Bracket Final (three teams remain):
Cranston Western 8, Coventry American 5 (elim.)

Championship Game:
Cumberland American 8, Cranston Western 7 (TITLE)


Dave Belisle became perhaps the most famous Little League manager on the planet after his heart-rendering talk with his team following their final game at the Little League World Series. Cumberland American Little League had fought tooth and nail during its three games in South Williamsport, including a win over South Nashville (Tennessee) Little League which featured a stirring bottom-of-the-sixth rally that enabled the Rhode Island team to extend its season for another game. Cumberland American's season finally ended after a game against Great Lake Region representative Jackie Robinson West Little League (Chicago, Illinois) that featured five lead changes and ended with the potential winning run at the plate.

But long before Cumberland American showed its mettle under the bright ESPN lights, there was The Comeback.

And The Comeback II.

And The Comeback III.

"Honestly, it's like they have nine lives," noted Lincoln Little League manager Charlie Hien, whose team was victimized by The Comeback I, after watching Cumberland American complete The Comeback II. "They just don't quit."

"These kids don't know the meaning of giving up," said Belisle after The Comeback III. "We all know that we have a powerful lineup, and everyone has confidence in everyone else. No one ever gets down on someone for making a mistake. They just keep battling."

The Comeback III was the Rhode Island state championship game at King Philip Little League's Roger Pigeon Field in Bristol, where Cumberland American scratched for a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to overcome a one-run deficit, and defeated Cranston Western Little League, 8-7.

It marked the third time in four games dating back to the District 4 championship game that Cumberland American came from behind in the bottom of the sixth inning before earning a walk-off victory, and the win lifted Cumberland American into the New England Region tournament in Bristol, Connecticut.

Cumberland American's title game win over Cranston Western was a back-and-forth affair. Cranston led early, first 3-0 and then 4-3. Cumberland reversed the deficit, Cranston tied the game, Cumberland moved in front, then Cranston zoomed into the lead before Cumberland's final push in the sixth.

Jayden Struble sparked Cumberland's decisive rally with a one-out walk. After a wild pitch and Tyler Provost's single up the middle, Addison Kopack doubled home Struble to tie the game. Sean Meers then followed with a shallow fly ball behind first base. Second baseman Noah Cook made a sprawling catch on the ball, which would have landed in fair territory, but Provost was able to track back to third base, tag up, and beat the throw home to end the game.

"If that was not Tyler Provost, we do not score," explained Belisle. "He's the fastest kid on the team. He did a good job -- he tagged up and he ran hard."

Cranston scored three times in the top of the first inning, as David Marchetti and Cook sandwiched RBI singles around a run-scoring sacrifice fly by Jared Olson. But Cumberland tied the game in the bottom of the inning, as Nick Croteau slammed a towering home run, and Kopack followed with a single that scored Provost.

"That was big to get our momentum at least back even," said Belisle. "Because they were flying high."

Cranston added a run in the top of the second, but Croteau delivered his second home run of the game in the bottom of the inning, a two-run blast that scored John Belisle and gave Cumberland a 5-4 lead.

Anthony Dionizio's solo home run in the fifth pulled Cranston Western level, but in the bottom of the inning, Kopack legged out an infield single and later scored on Trey Bourque's fielders choice. A pair of Cumberland errors helped Cranston to score twice in the top of the sixth, and set the stage for the Americans to rally in the bottom of the inning.

"I got a little nervous," added Belisle. "But knowing these kids and the way they refuse to lose, I was still confident in the final inning that they would find a way to pull this one out, and they did. They sure are a resilient bunch."

"I'm disappointed, but very proud," said Cranston Western manager Gary Bucci of his team's resiliency in the title game. "It was to the point where I almost had tears in my eyes. They just battled and battled."

Cumberland American had reached the state tournament after The Comeback I, when Struble slammed a three-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the sixth inning against Lincoln in the District 4 title game. The state tournament involved more of the same, as Cumberland trailed Coventry American Little League, 4-3, entering the bottom of the sixth of their opening round matchup. The District 4 champions then crawled back to complete The Comeback II, a 5-4, seven inning win.

Kopack's opposite field home run with one out in the sixth forced extra innings. In the seventh, Cumberland scratched for the winning run when Mason Matos reached on a bunt single and then scored on Struble's single.

All of Coventry's runs came via solo home runs, as Lucas Garcia, Sean Helfrisch, Nick Fuentes, and Vinny Adroite each cleared the fences. Croteau homered for Cumberland American.

The next day, Cumberland American put on the power show, racing to an early lead, homering five times and blitzing Cranston Western, 17-4 in five innings. Meers homered twice, including a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth that pushed the Americans' lead to double-digits and ended the game, and drove in five runs. Struble homered twice and produced five RBIs, while Kopack also homered for Cumberland. Dillon Demers provided most of Cranston's offense with a three-run homer in the third.

After the loss to Cumberland, Cranston Western earned a rematch by dispatching Coventry American, 8-5. Cranston won the coin toss before the game, and elected to be the visiting team in the hopes of gaining early momentum. The gambit worked as Marchetti's two-run double helped spark Western to an early 3-0 lead.

"We made a decision prior to the game that, if we won the toss, we were hitting first," explained Bucci. "Because I really believe that in the Cumberland game (the 17-4 loss), they're very good, but when you're down 4-0, it sets the tone, and I did not want to (fall behind early) this time... It paid off."

Cranston Western extended the lead in the fourth, when the District 1 winners tallied four runs. Cranston converted singles by Jack Hallsted and Michael Decenso, a pair of Coventry miscues, and a two-run double by Marchetti into a 7-1 advantage. Coventry closed the gap in the fifth, but Decenso relieved Demers and closed out the win.

Cranston had opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over Portsmouth Little League. Anthony Eacuello fired a one-hit complete game and struck out seven batters to pace the victory. Decenso's RBI single in the second gave Cranston an early advantage, and consecutive home runs by Cam Bissett and Cook in the sixth sealed the win.

Two days later, Cranston went toe-to-toe with Cumberland, before the Americans' penchant for last-inning heroics again came to the forefront.

"That was good stuff," said Belisle after his team's title-clinching comeback. "It's amazing what twelve-year-old boys can do on a stage like this. (That) both teams can put on a performance like this right to the very end, it's just a pleasure to be in an atmosphere like this. There's nothing better than Little League Baseball when it's played at a high level and it's played with sportsmanship."

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


  Elimination Bracket Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Cranston Western 3 0 0 4 1 0 8 8 1
Coventry American 0 0 1 0 3 1 5 10 4
  Championship Game
Cranston Western 3 1 0 0 1 2 7 9 0
Cumberland American 3 2 0 0 1 2 8 11 2

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