By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston Western 12 year old All-Stars have jumped out to a hot start to begin the summer tournament, collecting big wins over North Providence and Foxpoint to advance to the District semifinals against crosstown rival Cranston
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston Western 12 year old All-Stars have jumped out to a hot start to begin the summer tournament, collecting big wins over North Providence and Foxpoint to advance to the District semifinals against crosstown rival Cranston East.
The CWLL offense has been on fire in the early going, including a 10-point shutout performance over Foxpoint. Despite not being able to compete last summer, the 12’s have not missed a beat since the last time they were together, which was 2019 when they won at regionals.
“These kids have all been together for a few years and are all into hard work which is great. It’s been great, they were looking forward to it and have done a great job,” said CWLL 12’s coach Gary Bucci. “They find a way to get on. Whether it’s getting a hit, bunting, walking, we have a lot of ways of getting on base. We don’t have a lot of boppers, but we do have a few kids that hit the ball hard so we have been trying to play the small ball along with those guys.”
Expectations have been sky high for this unit since its big run two years ago. The kids have answered the bell to this point and are emerging as the favorite to win the state championship once again.
Bucci has been pleased with the group’s demeanor and its ability to respond to pressure.
“They have a quiet confidence, not cocky at all. And that is a good thing because you can get knocked off at any point in this tournament. Their confidence level is good, it’s not over the top and they have reflected that in their performance,” Bucci said.
Bucci added: They are aware of (the expectations), and if they’re not, their parents will let them know. Our league, in this area, kind of has a target on its back which is OK. We are the league that people are gunning for. Those expectations lead to pressure, how do you fight that pressure? Preparation. That’s why we try to prepare and practice as much as we can. And we are at it pretty much every night.”
Moving ahead, Bucci believes that the key to success for this team will be to focus on each day and to ignore the outside noise.
“We are at it, and we just need to keep going,” Bucci said. “We just need to keep practicing and hope that that preparation helps some of that pressure. It won’t eliminate all of it, but you hope that preparation will help eliminate some of, if not most of it.”
The two teams played on Wednesday evening, but the results were not available at press time.