Setting the stage for spring sports season

Posted 4/5/23

Welcome to spring sports, everyone. We made it through the long, winding winter playoffs and brief intermission that followed. Here’s to the next two months of fun prior to jumping into the …

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Setting the stage for spring sports season


Welcome to spring sports, everyone. We made it through the long, winding winter playoffs and brief intermission that followed. Here’s to the next two months of fun prior to jumping into the summer.

Here are some of the storylines to watch this coming spring and here are some of my thoughts and predictions as we dive into things this week:

For baseball, the two biggest questions that I have are 1) Will the Hawks reclaim their spot as the state’s best team after coming up short the past two seasons? And 2) is this the year that Cranston West climbs its way into that elite class?

North Kingstown has won back to back titles, so it’s only fair to say it is the Skippers’ to lose. Hendricken has a relatively young team, but a lot of those kids got playoff experience last season.

Alex Clemmey is back and will be arguably the state’s best pitcher for the Hawks, and guys like Jack LaRose, Jason Pilderian, Griffin Crain and Braedon Campbell return to the lineup. Hendricken will certainly be in the mix come the end of the spring.

That’s always the case for the Hawks, but will this group be able to rebound and get past the Skippers?

Then for West, this team has been slowly building for a while now and features a senior-heavy roster. The Falcons have a three-headed monster on the mound between Luciano Leone, Nick Masse and Demetri Sampalis as well as five other seniors in the field. West has reached the playoffs the past two seasons, falling to the Skippers each time. West pulled off a massive upset two years ago when they beat the Hawks in the opening round.

The Falcons have a chance to emerge as serious contenders, so let’s see if they can get it done.

For softball, it’s going to be fun to see what reigning Gatorade Player of the Year Alyssa Twomey does for Pilgrim.

She committed to Division I Providence College this offseason and has accomplished just about everything a high schooler can through her first three years. The only thing that is left is a Division I title, which the Pats should be in the running for once again.

We know that she is the best player in the state. She’s the best pitcher and a true power hitter at the plate. Every second she is on the field she is capable of taking the game over, and usually does just that.

To say that I’m expecting a huge year from her would not be a thrilling take, but that’s what I believe is in store for her. She was brilliant in the circle on opening day, holding La Salle to just two hits while striking out 13 batters. She also had an RBI triple to put the Pats on the board in the first inning.

I think we’re in for a historic year for Twomey and she is a near-lock to win Gatorade Player of the Year again.

Nearby Toll Gate will be a fun club to follow as well in Division II. The Titans came out of nowhere last year to reach the semifinals, and probably would have won it if they didn’t lose starting pitcher Emma Harrold.

Harrold is back and only a sophomore. She was one of the best pitchers in the division and is only going to get better. The Titans are poised to make another deep run.

Speaking of deep runs, the defending champion Pilgrim lacrosse team should be in good position to defend its title with guys like Braxton Bragg, Tyler Fuller and Ethan Pezzullo back in the mix. Sure, it lost a big senior core, but the returners are elite.

Then on the girls side, both Cranston West and Toll Gate will be teams to watch. The Titans, though, will be without their best player in Adeline Areson. But we will see, they reached the semis last year, so a playoff run should still be attainable.

Our coverage area featured some of the best boys volleyball in the state last season.

The Johnston Panthers won their first championship in program history and will be bringing back a handful of playmakers including James Guilmette, Dylan Robbins and Joshua Philbrick. Johnston will be a favorite to repeat as champs, and my early prediction is that the Panthers get it done.

Cranston East reached the semis after upsetting Hendricken in the quarterfinals. Each team will be in the mix again, and Cranston West and Pilgrim also have a chance to make some noise. It would not surprise me if we see multiple champions in our coverage area here.

Then lastly, with outdoor track.

pitch, column, sports


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