2011 Rhode Island State Little League® Tournament Results
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Rhode Island State Tournament
Major Baseball Division



Toward the past
2011

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Rhode Island State Tournament
Host - Warwick West Side (District 3)
At Abe Klitzner Field

Participating Teams
District 1 Champions Cranston Western
District 2 Champions Portsmouth
District 3 Champions Central Coventry
District 4 Champions Cumberland American

Click here to view 2011 district tournament results for Rhode Island.

Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Cranston Western 3, Central Coventry 0
Cumberland American 13, Portsmouth 3

Elimination Bracket Semifinal (four teams remain):
Central Coventry 10, Portsmouth 3 (elim.)

Winner's Bracket Final:
Cumberland American 15, Cranston Western 0

Elimination Bracket Final (three teams remain):
Central Coventry 4, Cranston Western 3 (elim.)

Championship Game:
Cumberland American 17, Central Coventry 5 (5 innings; TITLE)


Summary:

You have to go back 34 years, to 1977, to find a summer in which the two qualifiers for the Rhode Island state championship game in the major baseball division were first-time entrants.

And no matter how far you go back, you won't find a team that dominated the field to the extent that Cumberland American Little League did in 2011.

Cumberland American defeated each of the other three qualifiers at the state tournament by ten-plus run margins, and captured its first-ever Ocean State championship at Warwick West Side Little League's Abe Klitzner Field. Cumberland American sealed the title with a 17-5, five inning victory over Central Coventry Little League in the championship game.

Cumberland's victories helped to bookend the state title won by Cumberland National Little League in 2010, and the Americans went on to reach the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

"It's a special group of kids with a lot of heart and a lot of determination," said Cumberland American manager Dave Belisle after the championship game. "They are so passionate about the game. That's what wins, passion."

"That Cumberland American team is phenomenal," said Central Coventry manager Anthony Feole. "I've been watching them for a few years now, and know most of the players. And the coaches are amazing."

Cumberland scored in every inning of the championship game, and opened and closed the game with big innings. Cumberland scored five runs before Central Coventry came to bat, and transformed a 9-5 lead into a mercy rule finish with an eight-run rally in the fifth.

Cumberland batted around in its first inning rally, and Max Hanuschak opened the scoring with a two-run single. Conor Lavallee drove in a third run, and Colin Cannata followed with a two-run single.

"I saw this Coventry team play last night, and I knew they were good hitters," said Belisle of his team's fast start. "I knew (we needed) a good start, and we did that. It put a little pressure on them and gave us a little more relaxation. We handled it perfectly."

Central Coventry cut into the deficit on Justin Brown's two-run double in the bottom of the first, but stranded nine baserunners in the first three innings and couldn't reel in the eventual champions.

Cumberland maintained its edge with Jake Glod's solo home run in the second and Ryan McCormick's two-run shot in the third. In the fifth, Chris Wright drilled a three-run homer and Hanuschak added a two-run single as Cumberland American extended its advantage to twelve runs and invoked the mercy rule.

Cumberland American's 17-run output was the most-ever in a Rhode Island state championship game, and the two teams' 22-run total topped the high previously established when Cranston Western defeated Wickford Little League 11-9 in the 1997 state tournament.

"We're hitting top-to-bottom right now," said Belisle prior to the championship game. "It started in the ... District 4 finals and it hasn't stopped. Hopefully we've got a few more of those in us."

"They are a phenomenal hitting team," agreed Feole. "They recognize pitches. They hang back on curves. They hit fastballs. I give them a shot in Bristol."

Cumberland American showcased its offensive prowess throughout the tournament, and scored eight or more runs in an inning during each of its three wins.

In the opener, Cumberland snapped a 3-3 tie by scoring eight runs in the fifth inning of a 13-3 victory over Portsmouth Little League. The teams traded blows early, with Portsmouth's Connor Richardson slamming a three-run homer in the first and Cumberland knotting the score on Cannata's three-run blast in the second.

In the fifth, Cumberland sent eleven batters to the plate, and Hanuschak (two-run single to center), Lavallee (two-run double to left center), and Cannata (another three-run homer) helped the Americans to pull away.

Cumberland iced the win in the sixth, when Wright celebrated his first game back in the lineup with a two-run homer to center field. The right-hander had been sidelined after fracturing his ankle a few days into all-star practice and had been unable to play in the district tournament.

"It's great to have him back in the lineup," said Belisle. "He's a big stick for us. Him watching four weeks of these power surges, he wanted a little piece of it."

"To be able to pick up a kid like Wright (in the midst of the tournament) -- wow!" added the Cumberland manager.

Belisle was also impressed with Hanuschak who labored through a 30-pitch first inning but then posted three scoreless innings while feeling under the weather.

"I like the way Hanuschak gutted it out," noted Belisle. "He wasn't feeling well (but) he battled. It was a struggle for him, but he did everything we asked of him."

The next day, Cumberland opened the game with consecutive home runs, and sealed the victory with a nine-run rally in the third inning of a 15-0 victory over Cranston Western Little League.

McCormick opened the game by slamming its fifth pitch beyond the 220-foot market in center field, and five pitches later, Glod drove a pitch over the right field fence.

"Unfortunately, we set the tone in a bad way," said Cranston Western manager Gary Bucci. "They came out hitting. Two home runs right out of the chute. Then (we're) hanging our heads and it just snowballs."

Cumberland stretched the lead to 4-0, then sent fifteen batters to the plate in its nine-run third. Glod delivered a grand slam that extended the lead to 10-0 before Cumberland added three more runs.

In addition to lifting Cumberland into the title game, the big inning had one more effect -- Belisle was able to lift Conor Mastin, his starting pitcher, after three hitless innings at a point when his pitch count was low enough that he would be eligible to throw again in the title game.

"We go a nice lead for him, so we can use him again Wednesday," said Belisle. "That's big for us. I think that was the most important thing. He pitched well, and he gets to pitch again."

Belisle was pleased with his team's output against one of the state's traditional powers.

"I'm very surprised," said the Cumberland manager. "Fifteen runs against Cranston Western? I'm not saying I'm shocked, because we have a great hitting team, but it's surprising that they can do this well."

The Cumberland manager also tried to temper expectations and keep his team focused as it looked to the championship game.

"We have to wait and start all over again," said Belisle. "It's a new ballgame. We can't take any of these fifteen runs with us on Wednesday. It's a great victory for us, but whoever comes at us on Wednesday, we can't take them for granted."

Central Coventry earned the right to face Cumberland with a 4-3 decision over Cranston Western, but the District 4 winners continued their high-octane ways with the decisive title game victory.

"They really deserve this championship today," said Belisle of his team. "From the first day, we hit the ball, to right up to today. Hopefully they have something left. I know this team wants more."

Cumberland turned out to have plenty left. Despite being shutout twice during pool competition at the New England Region tournament, Cumberland advanced to the elimination phase. The Rhode Island champions then advanced to the championship game, and used an eight-run first inning rally to topple Andover American (Massachusetts) Little League by a 13-7 score and advance to the Little League World Series.

Follow Cumberland American at the New England Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.


Linescores:

  Winner's Bracket Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Cumberland American 3 1 9 2 15 12 -
Cranston Western 0 0 0 0 0 - -
  Championship Game
Cumberland American 5 1 2 1 8 17 13 -
Central Coventry 2 1 2 0 0 5 - -




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