NORTH SMITHFIELD — Tessa LaBarre grew up playing softball in North Smithfield’s black, green and gold uniforms at the Paul Joyce Athletic Fields.
The talented Northmen senior faced the very real possibility of not wearing her school colors or playing a home game in her last two high school years. She lost her junior season to the pandemic and she a five other Northmen had to travel up Route 7 and co-op with neighboring Burrillville in her senior year.
Thankfully for LaBarre – and fellow Northmen senior Devony Omweg – Burrillville/North Smithfield
coach Bill Lacey moved the team’s penultimate home game to North Smithfield. And, thanks to a phone call between Lacey and North Smithfield athletic director Matt Tek, the squad played the game in the Northmen’s black, green and gold uniforms.
“It feels so good to play here because I’ve been doing it since middle school,” LaBarre said. “It feels like we’re back home. And the jerseys? We just look a thousand times better in them. We do. It’s the whole black vibe. We look good.”
“I was trying to figure out a way that we could best do something for the North Smithfield girls,” said Lacey, who wore a North Smithfield High polo to honor the occasion. “I didn’t even think about the jerseys until I talked to Tek one day about something. It’s great because the Burrillville girls can wear the North Smithfield jerseys because it’s been the other way all season long.”
It really doesn’t matter what uniforms they wear or where the Broncos are playing their home games this season because they steamrolled another overmatched Division III opponent on Wednesday afternoon. With North Smithfield junior Abby Fortin in the circle, the Broncos needed just five innings to mercy-rule East Greenwich, 11-1.
Fortin wasn’t at her dominant best, but the righthander still struck out 10 batters, while North Smithfield sophomore Samantha Ledger smashed a two-run home run and added a double to improve the Broncos to 12-0 in league play.
“I’m so happy with the way we’re playing right now,” LaBarre said after walking twice and scoring during the six-run fifth. “We have one game left on Thursday and we’re the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. We just need to continue to play how we’ve been playing because I’ve been on good teams before. My freshman year we had a good team and didn’t do well in the playoffs. We just need to finish what we started.”
The Broncos will honor the Burrillville seniors this afternoon at Hauser Field against a Tiverton team battling for the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. Burrillville sophomore Julianna Colbert will get the start in the circle.
East Greenwich (2-11 Division III) grabbed the lead in the third inning when freshman Teaghan Bristol doubled and scored on a double by freshman Sam Lombardi. The Avengers stranded a pair of runners in scoring position and didn’t get another runners past first over the final two innings.
The Broncos took the lead in the next half inning when Burrillville’s Abby Gaudreau hit a lead-off double and Ledger followed with a two-run home run. Colbert singled later in the inning and came around to score on a North Smithfield junior Sadie Crozier single. Gaudreau added a run in the fourth.
Fortin (walk), Crozier (single) and Omweg (single), LaBarre (walk), Mallory Bertrand (single) and Ledger (double) all scored in the fifth inning to end the game early.
CENTRAL FALLS — Alexsya Torres hit an inside-the-park home run along with a triple and Darisel Velez added a triple to lead Central Falls to an 11-8 Division IV victory over Juanita Sanchez at the Higginson Avenue Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Central Falls (5-4 Division IV) has won four straight games headed into Saturday’s trip to Providence face Hope at 10 a.m. The Warriors will stay at the Al Morro Athletic Complex to take on first-place Classical at 2 p.m.
RAMS STOP CLIPPERS
PROVIDENCE — The Cumberland softball team finished the Division I regular season 6-6 after Wednesday afternoon’s 9-1 Division I road defeat to La Salle Academy on Wednesday.
Cumberland was only down 3-1 in the third inning after Reilly Austin scored pinch runner Leah Kilby with a single, but that was the final time the Clippers touched home plate. Lizzie Pickering and Maddie Zancan powered the offense with triples, while senior Abbie Vallely added a double. Abbie LaRose and Ally Casavant recorded singles.
The Clippers, who will host the last-place team in a Division I first-round game next week at Tucker Field, received solid relief work from freshman CC Lanzi and Kaidy Carr.