By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston Bulldogs Connie Mack baseball team had a solid summer season, finishing the regular season with an 8-5 record and reaching the semifinals in the playoffs. The third-seeded Bulldogs cruised past Tiverton in the opening
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston Bulldogs Connie Mack baseball team had a solid summer season, finishing the regular season with an 8-5 record and reaching the semifinals in the playoffs.
The third-seeded Bulldogs cruised past Tiverton in the opening round, winning in two games by scores of 6-2 and 15-0.
John Rodriguez and Nathan Lopes each knocked in two runs in the 6-2 win while Anthony Decotis earned the win on the mound. Kyle Palardy got things going in the 15-0 win, hitting a bases-clearing triple in the first inning for the Bulldogs. Palardy, Rodriguez and Chris Melise combined for six hits and four runs in the victory.
However, their run was cut short by Chariho in the semis, who picked up a 4-1 win in Game 1 and a 3-2, extra inning win in Game 2.
Although the Bulldogs’ did not reach the finals, manager Dave Ciolfi was proud of his club’s performance throughout the season.
“I was very proud of the team because we were young and were undermanned in the second playoff series. We had 16 kids on our roster but only 11 available. Considering everything, I am very proud of the kids,” said Ciolfi. “Chariho was a much older team but we were in every game. We were up 1-0 in Game 1 and then played in extra innings in Game 2. They played hard.”
The key to the young team playing as well as it did was attention to detail and working hard to improve each day. That work ethic – along with talent – helped propel the Bulldogs to a top-3 seed in the postseason.
“They were very coachable and they wanted to know how to play the game better and smarter. They were athletic which made it easier on us. They were very fast and we used it to our advantage. The fact that they were coachable and very athletic helped us,” said Ciolfi.
The Bulldogs should be a contender in 2022 considering only four players are set to move on to the next level of competition. Ciolfi and company hope that this year’s strong finish will provide some momentum in a year from now.
“We’re only losing four players and I think the kids that are returning knew that there could be something special next year. What we try to instill in the kids is, ‘Let’s be better at the end of the season than we were at the beginning.’ No team that I’ve had in Connie Mack progressed as fast as this one did,” Ciolfi said. “They were like sponges. I think them seeing that progress will get them excited for 2022.”