Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 05-23-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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CUMBERLAND – Blackstone Valley Prep's only team in the Coastal Prep League won't be playing there next season. The Pride's baseball team, which entered this week with a 9-2 record, as well as a 4-0 mark in the CPL that has BVP on the verge of winning the reg- ular-season title, will make the jump to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League in 2020 and join its school's other athletic programs that trickled over to the RIIL during the past three years. And judging by the Pride's success in its five non-league games against the RIIL's Division III teams, as well as a young group of talented ballplay- ers that will lead them for the next two or three seasons, the decision to exit the smaller, lesser-talented CPL was a logicial one. "It's nice that we have a chance to win the Coastal Prep League (cham- pionship) this season," said BVP head coach Ed Laskowski, "but obvi- ously our goal was to move up (to the RIIL), and the time seems to be right. I'm sure we'll take our lumps (in the RIIL), but I'm sure we'll make a little bit of noise too." Laskowski talked about his team's present and future last Wednesday, May 15, after his ballclub inched clos- er to the CPL title by defeating Block Island, 6-3, at Diamond Hill Park. The Pride have two CPL games remaining, Saturday's 2 p.m. con- test at Mount Pleasant High against Providence's Highlander Charter, and a makeup game against the Grove School of Madison, Conn., which has yet to be rescheduled. If the Pride win one of those games, they will clinch the league title – there is no postsea- son. With only six league games on its schedule, Laskowski beefed up his team's slate this year by schedul- ing the five RIIL games, as well as contests against Providence Country Day's junior varsity team and nearby Liberty Christian High School of South Attleboro. "We're just looking to play baseball and see our school compete in as many sports as humanly possible," said Laskowski. "And these kids have been nothing but hard-working and dedicated, and they bought in from day one." The Pride broke out to an 8-0 start this season, with half those victories coming against the RIIL's Times2 Academy, 16-6; Davies, 8-4; Paul Cuffee, 21-2; and Central Falls, 14-13, but that win streak ended two weeks ago when they suffered a 10-2 loss to PCD's JV team and an 11-1 defeat to Hope, which entered this week in third place in the D-III standings with an 11-4 mark. "We hit a little snag and lost those two games, but it's sometimes nice to come back to earth a little bit and battle back," said Laskowski, who was minus a few injured players. Against PCD's JV team, "we were hanging in that game through five or six innings, and then the wheels kind of fell off. And Hope was very good. I think we saw one of their best pitchers and he mowed us down a little bit." "But we have to see those top teams in Division III in order for us to know that it's something that could be com- ing around the corner," continued Laskowski. "We want to get better, and these are going to be the type of programs that we have to compete with in order to make playoffs, and that's probably going to be one of our first goals moving forward." A lot of other things still need to be done before the Pride wades into the RIIL's waters. With the Pride expect- ed to play a 16- or 18-game schedule and host half of those games, securing a home site for those games will be a big focus for Laskowski, who is also the school's athletic director. "Cumberland has been great to offer us a field when we need one," said Laskowski. "We played down in Bentley (Field) against Central Falls and we've played (at Diamond Hill Park), and we've played some of our games at Mount Pleasant as well. Obviously, that's not in our backyard, CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | MAY 23-29, 2019 SPORTS & RECREATION 25 BVP baseball team looks to exit CPL with championship Pride awaits RIIL Div. III play in 2020 sports@valleybreeze.com By ERIC BENEVIDES Valley Breeze Sports Editor Blackstone Valley Prep catcher and number five batter ZACH MURPHY gets ready to drive a fastball into left field for a base hit during last week's game against Coastal Prep League opponent Block Island. The Pride posted a 6-3 vic- tory to improve their overall record to 9-2 and CPL mark to 4-0. BREEZE PHOTOS BY ERIC BENEVIDES See PRIDE, Page 27 JADIN CORNELIO

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