Initial thoughts on upcoming playoffs

Posted 5/24/23

Our teams are wrapping up their regular seasons this week and as always, this spring season is flying by.

As we get prepared for the upcoming playoff tournaments, let me give you my thoughts on …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Initial thoughts on upcoming playoffs


Our teams are wrapping up their regular seasons this week and as always, this spring season is flying by.

As we get prepared for the upcoming playoff tournaments, let me give you my thoughts on the regular season slate and some predictions as we head to the next leg of the race and the final countdown to the high school sports season.

Bishop Hendricken baseball has been on a tear this season behind ace Alex Clemmey, who has been as good as advertised this spring as a Vanderbilt commit and MLB hopeful. Along with a loaded lineup that features guys like Braeden Campbell, Griffin Crain, Ryan Thompson, among others, the Hawks look like a sure bet to make a run.

The question will be if they can finally beat North Kingstown, who overcame a slow start to the season to once again emerge as title contenders down the stretch. The two teams are meeting up on Thursday for a huge late season matchup.

Cranston East could be a dark horse in Division I as well.

Sure, the Bolts have been about as inconsistent as any team in the state this spring, but when they’re on, they’re on. Randy Guzman and John Devine combine to give them an elite 1-2 punch on the mound, and the bats are capable of dropping 10 runs at any given moment. The bats tend to go cold and the fielding has been a work in progress, but if East can peak in the postseason, then it may be a dangerous team to deal with.

For softball, Pilgrim has been the most dominant team in the state this spring. Alyssa Twomey has been dynamite in both the circle and at the plate. It’s hard to not be the best team in the state when you have the best player in the state in your lineup.

Cranston West is in this thing, though, as it sits in first place in Division 1A. Between Sam Healy and Siena Nardelli at the plate, as well as Paige Cote in the circle, the Falcons will absolutely be ready to go toe to toe with the Pats, or Coventry, La Salle, Bay View, Cumberland, whoever. Division I will once again be a dogfight in the postseason.

The Johnston Panthers have also emerged as title contender and have been perhaps the best team in Division II in the second half of the season. Freshman phenom Haley Boudreau has been a force, as well as standout senior Arianna Velasquez.

Our boys lacrosse teams will be busy in the next week as the playoffs get underway.

Defending DIII champ Pilgrim was bumped up to DII and didn’t skip a beat, finishing in second place and earning a first-round bye. The Pats will be taking on the winner of Cumberland-Prout, both of which they beat in the regular season. Braxton Bragg has been among the state’s elite and will need to keep it up.

Toll Gate has enjoyed a breakout season as well in Division III, and although the Titans may not be quite the lock that the Pats seem to be, they will have every chance to get compete for a title behind Sean Mullaney, Jacob Pickering and Cooper Grossguth.

It looks like the Johnston boys volleyball team will be claiming its second straight championship in the next few weeks.

The defending champs entered the week with a 10-0 record and have only surrendered one set in that span. I don’t want to be hyperbolic here, but I do not see a way that this team does not walk off the court holding the gold plaque at postseason’s end. It has been virtually untested … actually it’s not virtual, it’s literal. The Panthers have cruised past everyone they’ve faced.

James Guilmette, Josh Philbrick, Josh Galeas, Johnston is loaded with experience. Winning another title is pretty much a given, I’d say.

Up in Division II, it looks like a two-horse race between Barrington and Cranston West. The two teams finally met last week in a battle for first place and the Eagles would get the thrilling, five-set win. Westerly is very much a factor still, but the Falcons and Eagles appear to be on a collision course for the finals.

Bishop Hendricken just saw its top singles player Jack Ciunci claim his second straight individual tennis title and the Hawks will be getting their team playoff run started this week against Smithfield.

The Hawks will face some stiff competition against Barrington and La Salle, but with a guy like Ciunci leading the way, they will be right in the thick of things in the next two weeks.

The outdoor track state championships will be tremendous theater.

The Hawks and Rams will likely finish 1-2 once again, but the order will be anyone’s guess. Hendricken was dominant at the class meet and looks to be the favorite with possible champions in every event.

On the flip side, the Cranston West girls have followed up their impressive 2022 spring with possibly a better 2023. Although the girls side is a little more top heavy than the boys, I still believe that the Lady Falcons have a shot to pull off the win. Ailani Sutherland is the state’s best sprinter while Reece Vitale just put on a clinic at the class meet.

pitch, playoffs


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here