Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 06-06-2019

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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SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | JUNE 6-12, 2019 SPORTS & RECREATION 21 The members of the PONAGANSET HIGH SOFTBALL TEAM, which concluded its undefeated season by winning the Division III championship on Sunday afternoon at Rhode Island College, are, in front from left, Leslie Peckham, Kristen Briggs, Falyn Lusignan, Chloe Skene-Poirier, Jessica Hassell, Jenna Greene, Jordan McGuire, and Caitlyn Sharpe; in middle row, assis- tant coach Cassie Acciaioli, Victoria Cramer, Brianna Parenteau, Meghan Viveiros, Hannah Merson, Mallory Gilmore, Shannon Healey, Liana Nerbonne, Anna Baxter, Mackenzie Gilmore, and Isabelle Besser; in back, assistant coach David Armstrong, head coach Michael Calenda, and assistant coach Mike Hassell. BREEZE PHOTO BY ERIC BENEVIDES Chieftains cruise to D-III softball crown Ponaganset caps 19-0 season in new division with mercy-rule victories over Wheeler PROVIDENCE – There was no drama or suspense in Sunday after- noon's Division III softball champion- ship game at Rhode Island College. Heck, there hadn't been much drama or suspense this year for unde- feated Ponaganset High, which since moving down to Division III, has dominated its opponents and won 17 of its 19 games by the mercy rule. The Chieftains' 19th and final D-III win came in the second game of their best-of-three title series against the Wheeler School, and it was a 15-1 triumph that was cut short after five innings and gave Ponaganset its first softball championship in its history. The only drama to the Chieftains' season came in the offseason, when they appeared to be on the brink of needing to form a co-op team with another program with low numbers. Not only had Ponaganset totaled just nine victories during its 2017 and '18 seasons in Division II, but the Chieftains graduated nine of their 14 players last year and had no idea what the incoming Class of 2022 would bring to their program. "We were on the verge of merging with Scituate," said Ponaganset head coach Mike Calenda. "We were very close, but we had 11 freshmen come in, and a lot of them got playing time. Five of them start for us, and our pitcher (Liana Nerbonne) is a sopho- more." "But they're great kids," Calenda continued. "I'm very proud of them. They worked hard all year." And the Chieftains, with only two seniors, Jordan McGuire and Brianna Parenteau, on their roster, had a spring to remember, with the Wheeler School (15-4) providing Ponaganset with its closest contest of the season on May 6 – a 12-4 victory that saw the Warriors come alive in the latter innings. In their 19 league games, the Chieftains outscored their opponents by a whopping 311-21 margin. They also shut out nine teams and allowed just one run in five other contests. Will the Chieftains' dominance in this division translate into a return to Division II in 2020? Teams in the past, such as Woonsocket (2010) and Scituate (2017), were thrusted into the RIIL's second division after proving they didn't belong in D-III after just one season there. "We certainly hope so," added Calenda. If there was any excitement from last weekend's title series, it came in the series opener last Saturday afternoon when Wheeler struck for a run in the top of the first inning. But Ponaganset came back to not only take a 5-1 lead after two innings of play, but also erupt for 17 unanswered runs in the third and end up with a 22-1 victory that was stopped after 3½ innings. "(Wheeler) gave us a scare in the first inning," added Calenda. "They're a competitive team – they were our competition really to get here – and that's a good team over there, there's no doubt about it." In Sunday's series clincher, the Chieftains put some distance between themselves and the Warriors with another big inning, this one resulting in eight runs in the top of the third inning and allowing Ponaganset to own a 13-0 command. After collecting just two hits through the first two innings to take a 5-0 lead, with one of the hits a two-run single by Jenna Greene, the Chieftains came out swinging in the third. Mallory Gilmore's two-run triple to deep center field highlighted the inning, which also saw Victoria Cramer contribute a two-run single and Jessica Hassell and Nerbonne drive in runs with base hits. Speaking of Nerbonne, she ended up pitching a four-hitter that saw her strike out seven batters and walk one. The Warriors' run came in the bottom of the fourth. By ERIC BENEVIDES Valley Breeze & Observer Sports Editor sports@valleybreeze.com SMITHFIELD – The Smithfield YMCA and Northern R.I. High School Triathlon Club are teaming up to host the inaugural "TRI at the Y" event for all ages on Sunday, June 9, at the YMCA on Deerfield Drive. This USATri60 event, which is indoor and timed, will feature an indoor pool swim, indoor spin bike, and a run on a treadmill, but partici- pants will have the option of running outdoor laps. Children ages 7-10 (as of Dec. 31) will compete in a "Splash and Dash" Smithfield YMCA, NRI Triathlon Club host inaugural 'Tri at the Y' on Sunday See TRI AT THE Y, Page 22 SLEEP BETTER KNOWING THIS Getting regular dental check-ups not only leads to better oral health, but it also may help address patients' sleep problems. For instance, when the dentist spots signs of worn or damaged teeth, it may lead to a diagnosis of "obstructive sleep apnea" (OSA), a nocturnal breathing disorder that has been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. This condition is caused by relaxation of the walls of the throat resulting in narrowed airways that interrupt breathing and sleep. As much as 40% of adults suffering from OSA grind their teeth. By detecting signs of tooth-grinding ("bruxism"), the dentist or hygienist can help many of the 85% of people with undiagnosed OSA seek the treatment they need. Dentists do more than fill cavities, construct crowns, perform root canals, place implants, and make dentures. If you have questions about sleep issues and OSA, or you're experiencing unusual discomfort, or if you are worried about your child's developing teeth, the answers to these concerns and others can be found at DENTAL ARTS GROUP. We are well-versed and up to date on today's health care matters at 1136 Hartford Ave., Johnston, where we offer comprehensive dental services. Please call us at 401-521-3661 for an appointment. P.S. Mild cases of OSA may be effectively treated by using a custom mouth guard called a "mandibular repositioning device" (MRD). Worn when sleeping, the device holds the lower jaw and tongue forward to open the airway.

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