Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 06-12-2019

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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Page 13 of 39

14 SPORTS & RECREATION JUNE 12-18, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION after Rivera-Lopez walked, Jeff LaRose flew out to left for the second out. That brought Alex Medeiros to the plate, and on a 1-1 count, Klemanchuck took off for third. Medeiros smoked a single into left, and Klemanchuck was being waved around third, but left fielder Bryan Testa fielded the hit cleanly and fired a strike to his catcher, Trey Bourque. It was a perfect one-hop throw that beat Klemanchuck, and despite his slight collision at the plate with Klemanchuck, Bourque was able to hold onto the ball for the final out. Murray said that in the middle of the season, his team was not scoring a lot of runs and losing close one-run games, so they amped up the pressure on the bases and began to produce more scoring. "He's my fastest guy," Murray said about sending Klemanchuck. "The kid made a great, perfect throw, a textbook, one-hopper. We had our fastest guy going and we had to take a chance. I told the guys I would (wave him home) again 100 times over." The Mounties tried to add an insurance run in the sev- enth, but Kent and the Tigers got out of the jam by getting a 4-6-3 double play. But in the bottom of the inning, Burke induced a fly out to right and back-to-back strikeouts to give Mount the win and a spot in this week's finals against Barrington. "I'm proud of my kids," said Murray, whose team ends its D-II season with a 14-9 mark and was seeking its first berth in the finals since 2015. "We started out slow and fell into a lull, and I wasn't sure if we were going to make the playoffs. Then we started turning it around, and we went on a good run where we won eight out of nine games." In order to reach the semifinals, the Tigers defeated Woonsocket in their playoff opener, 4-2, and West Warwick two days later in the quarterfinals, 6-0, and Murray said his team had its hands full in its game with Woonsocket. "We got pressured in that game," he said. "To be honest, I don't know how we got out of that game. We were get- ting no-hit into the fifth, but we scraped three hits together, and the next thing you know, we won, 4-2. I'm proud. We had a good year." After realigning the divisions into two separate groups, the RIIL also changed the makeup of the playoffs. Instead of a double-elimination format, the preliminary round and quarterfinals were single elimination. That caused some upsets, as the top teams from both D-II brackets, were ousted quickly in Middletown, North Providence, St. Raphael Academy, and Mount Hope. "From my point of view, obviously, I'm going to say that I like it," Murray said of the new format. "I like the two (single-elimination games) to get here, because even when it was double elimination, you really needed to win three games in a row to get in a good position in the winner's bracket of your pod. "But if you win two games in a row, you get to a best-of- three. I like it. I think in the future, what we're going to ask for is maybe instead of just two teams getting a bye, maybe four get one. We'll see." TIGERS From Page 13 down years in the past in D-II, but suddenly coming together this year in the RIIL's new nine-team D-III. While the Saints had been 1-15 a year ago, the Lions were 5-12, but things eventually clicked this spring. In their regular-season meetings, both matches went five sets, with the Saints winning in Lincoln on May 9, 3-2, and the Lions returning the favor in Pawtucket six nights later, 3-2. Lincoln, which received the top seed, defeat- ed Mount Hope in the semifinals, 3-0, and the Saints, who were the second seed, also blanked crosstown rival Shea, 3-0, to set up Monday's showdown for all the marbles. "It's not the way we wanted (the season) to (end)," Medeiros added. "You can't get upset when a team goes from 5-12, completely turns it around, and (posts a) 15-3 (record) with only 12 guys; we don't have a JV team. These guys bust their butts everyday at practice. They show up ready to go, and I can't be any more prouder of them." Nerves played a factor for both teams, who had never appeared in a championship match. It was loud from both sets of fans, and the air conditioner was cranked up. In the first set, the Saints jumped out to a 7-2 lead and got stronger and more confident with each point they scored. The Lions came back to tie the score at 12-12, but the Saints rattled off the next six points and took off from there. The Saints cruised through the second set and never trailed in it, but the Lions, with the help from their rousing crowd, kept their focus, dug down, and took the third set, 25-18. The Saints tried to stay in the game and retake it, but that was not to be. "In the third set of our last match against Shea, we kind of did the same thing," Linhares said. "I told the kids to ride the wave. There would be ups and downs – that's why you play five sets and to 25 not to 15. If you ride the momentum the right way, you can take it." But after winning the third set, the Lions could not ride the momentum into the fourth. They came out hard, coming back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the score at 6-6. From there it was anyone's game, as the lead flip-flopped and the service game started to crumble for both teams. The Saints broke a 10-10 lead by scoring the next three points, and they did everything they could to cling to their lead before breaking away late to win the set by nine points. The Saints were led by junior Ronnie Williams, who ended the match with seven kills, eight digs, and two aces. Senior setter Mike DiCenzo handed out 29 assists, and senior libero Pablo Uribe added 22 digs. "I thought our seniors were our backbone all year," said Linhares, who has 10 seniors on his roster. "They showed up today in the best way possible. Nobody let anybody down. They all played great. Kiki Salako, who's the third guy on the offense, stepped up big time today and led us in kills when we needed it." SAINTS From Page 11 The St. Raphael Academy boys' vol- leyball team won its program's first championship on Monday night by defeating Lincoln High, 3-1. Receiving the Division III championship plaque during the post- match festivities are, from left, SHAWN HUGHES, PABLO URIBE, DOMINIC SICIGNANO, GARMODEH WILLIE, and head coach CORY LINHARES. BREEZE PHOTO BY KAYLA PANU Celebrate Dad with one of the special offers from these Valley Breeze advertisers! Father ' s Day Gift Ideas

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