East Providenceâ€™s Jasiah Hatch slides home with the go-ahead run during the top of the fifth inning after North Smithfield pitcher Ian Pascoe (9) couldnâ€™t glove the throw from catcher Mike Cicerone. The Townies would go on to win, 3-1. PHOTO BY ERNEST A. BROWN
PAWTUCKET â€“ If his parents, or any others, could have heard the words spoken by North Smithfield High senior quad-captain/shortstop Dylan Narodowy inside McCoy Stadium late Wednesday afternoon, they would've expressed joy.
The Northmen had just sustained a more-than-crushing 3-1 loss to top-ranked East Providence in Game Two of a best-of-three R.I. Division II Tournament championship final set, but Narodowy maintained his poise.
His dream of earning a state title over, he remained a rock.
â€śOh, I admit I'm bummed, but our team showed heart throughout this thing,â€ť he explained after the Townies finished their campaign at 21-4, good for their first-ever state baseball crown. â€śNobody expected us to go this far or be here, but we are. We may hang our heads for a while, but we're going to pick them up because of all the good memories we have from this season.
â€śWe've beaten a lot of good teams to get here, with Mount St. Charles being one of them,â€ť he added. â€śThese guys are like brothers to me, have been for a long, long time. I wouldn't have wanted to spend my senior year, or career, with anyone else. All of these guys, they mean the world to me.â€ť
In the first initial on Tuesday, Narodowy took the loss after yielding eight hits, two walks and just two earned runs in what became a 5-2 loss to E.P. He went the distance, however, and fanned a pair.
Junior staff mate Ian Pascoe allowed the same amount of hits Wednesday, scattering five walks and two earned runs around six strikeouts, but he too had to accept defeat.
For North Smithfield, the campaign ended at 17-8, but what a spring it was! It opened with 10 straight victories (eight in II-North), then followed that with six consecutive losses. The Northmen rebounded with a 7-3 win over Shea on Senior Day, then squeaked out a 3-1 decision over Ponaganset on the regular-season's final day.
That came in a drizzle.
Head coach Jon Leddy's bunch then strung together five straight triumphs to gain a berth in the title set before succumbing on Wednesday.
After closing as state finalist, Leddy and his senior quad-captains â€“ among them Narodowy, batterymate Mike Cicerone, first baseman Chris Forbes and right fielder Conor DiSpirito â€“ accepted the runner-up trophy and silver medals from PawSox President Mike Tamburro and Rhode Island Interscholastic League Baseball Co-Directors Michael Whatley (Burrillville Principal) and Terry Lynch (South Kingstown Athletic Director) with class.
Really, there's no other way to put it.
â€śIt's been an unbelievable season,â€ť Leddy sighed following the ceremony honoring both clubs. â€śI know every coach has dreams of making it this far before the season starts, but never really believe it's true until you get here.
â€śThese guys went through a lot this season â€“ with the winning streak, losing six straight and then getting it back together,â€ť he added. â€śIt's been up-and-down, but we started winning again and got here, which is a privilege. All I can say is I'm very proud of each and every one of them; that goes without saying.â€ť
In the end, Townies' senior southpaw Keith Grant earned the win after allowing just three hits and a trio of walks with seven strikeouts in a complete-game outing. He also surrendered those hits to junior Brad Shatraw (in the first), eventual losing pitcher Ian Pascoe (double in the second) and Forbes (sixth).
Pascoe, a junior righty, yielded eight hits, five walks (with a hit batsman) and fanned six in another complete stint.
â€śWe just couldn't string them together,â€ť Leddy mentioned. â€śWe had that great putout at the plate (a Mike Cicerone tag of junior Kyle Marquis to finish off an outstanding relay combination) in the fourth, and we were up at that point emotionally.
â€śStill, it's tough to keep a team like that down,â€ť he continued. â€śThey're the No. 1 seed for a reason. They just beat us, fair and square. We were lacking the timely hits, but Grant pitched great. They got outstanding pitching throughout the series, and were tough to hit. Bobby (Rodericks, the Townie skipper with whom Leddy, a fellow E.P. graduate, used to play amateur baseball for years) deserves this. He's a great coach, and his kids did a fantastic job.â€ť
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