Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 07-02-2020

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 Edition Sports & Recreation @ JULY 2-8, 2020 SMITHFIELD – A season after making its debut in the R.I. American Legion baseball circuit, the Smithfield/North Providence Post 29 program will debut in another league this summer. So will seven other American Legion programs in this state. After the American Legion's national headquarters pulled the plug on the 2020 campaign because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Smithfield/ North Providence joined forces with the likes of defending two-time state champion Upper Deck Post 14 and neighboring Scituate Post 19 and Howard Rogers Post 25 of Pawtucket in forming the R.I. 19-20 Elite Baseball League. "The '19' is for the virus and the '20' is for this year," said Post 29 head coach Lou Zammarelli, who added with a laugh, "I came up with that." The league, which formed on June 11 and will begin play on Monday night after it irons out its schedule this week, will consist of a five-week regu- lar season (with each ballclub playing 14 games) and a postseason that will include all eight teams and consist of single-elimination quarterfinal and semifinal rounds and a best-of-three championship series. "We're playing baseball," Zammarelli said last Thursday after- noon. "We're not playing to go to a regional tournament. We're just get- ting everyone out there to play the game." Like most leagues across the state who will play baseball these next two or three months, the R.I. Elite 19-20 League will be doing its best to adhere to the social distancing rules and the guidelines that Gov. Gina Raimondo recently established in her Phase 3 announcement, and the one of the most notables ones will come in the umpiring department. "We're only going to have one umpire behind the mound instead of crouching behind the catcher, and he's going to be calling the whole game himself," Zammarelli said. "We're going to rely on the first and third base coaches to make the foul or fair calls up the lines." Managers and coaches wearing masks when they visit the mound and players abstaining from using their dugouts and each other's equipment are three more things to keep in mind in the new league, which also contains Cranston's Gershkoff-Auburn Post 20, Newport's R&R Construction Post 7, South Kingstown Post 39, and New England Frozen Lemonade Post 101. When Smithfield/NP's Senior Division team takes the field next week, it will do so with an experi- enced roster that contains several recent high school graduates who were unable to suit up for their respective schools this past spring. Zammarelli is back as the head coach, and his assistants are Smithfield High head coach Jim Connell Jr., Jim Connell Sr., Paul Rioles, and Pete Marino. Eleven players were members of last year's club, and almost everyone on the roster can play multiple posi- tions. Two players, North Providence's P.J. Rioles and Smithfield's Jake McDonough, were freshmen on their collegiate teams (Rioles for Clark University and McDonough for Johnson & Wales University) who each played two games before their seasons were cut short. Smithfield's players are Nathan Potter and Jordan Golato (pitcher- catcher), Tommy Sheppard and John Golato (infield-outfield), Joe Pitrone (third base-pitcher), Justin Gorgone and Zach Collins (infield-pitcher), outfielder Chris Olean, and pitchers Matt Antunes, Kyle Haberle, and McDonough. North Providence's Dom Pontarelli and Rioles, who pitch and play first base, and infielder-outfielder Ron Baccala are back from last year's team, and they are joined by infielder- pitcher Nick Rioles, catcher C.J. Almagno, and outfielder Christian Carmosino. As for the Junior Division team, which will be featured in a nine-team format (with Scituate again fielding two teams this year), it will be led by Smithfield High infielder and senior-to-be JOHN GOLATO, shown smacking a long drive to left field during a game with the Sentinels last spring, is one of the players to watch on this year's Smithfield/North Providence Post 29 Senior Division baseball team, which will begin its six-week season next Monday night. Smithfield/NP Post 29 takes field in R.I. 19-20 Elite Baseball League Five-week regular season starts next Monday night By ERIC BENEVIDES Valley Breeze & Observer Sports Editor See BASEBALL, Page 11 Mother of Hope Camp 1589 Putnam Pike Chepachet, RI 02814 401-568-3580 June 29 - August 14 •Traditonal Camp Activities •Ages 5-12 •Weekly & Daily Options •Affordable Pricing •Special Discounts •Friendly Professional Staff •Secure Online Registration Call us for more information! Registration is now open! Come enjoy our 136 acres of woodlands Live - Learn - Grow ank You for your support! OPEN DAILY 7 a.m.-10 p.m. INDOOR DINING & OUTDOOR SEATING DELIVERY, TAKE OUT & CURBSIDE PICK UP, TOO! 622 George Washington Highway, Unit 70 • Lincoln, RI Family owned and operated 401-333-1593 Open Daily 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Online ordering for pick available at and delivery available on DoorDash VALID DINE IN, OUTDOOR SEATING OR PICK UP ORDERS. 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