Smithfield Little League won the Metro Region to advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, continuing Rhode Island’s run as one of the premier states for youth baseball in the …
Smithfield Little League won the Metro Region to advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, continuing Rhode Island’s run as one of the premier states for youth baseball in the country.
After a lengthy run in the New England group, Rhody was moved to the Metro Region which includes the likes of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. For the little Ocean State to win that region as by far the smallest state is a remarkable achievement.
First off, I detest the decision to bounce Rhode Island and Connecticut from New England. I know there must be reasons, but there is no reason good enough to split up New England but still refer to it as New England. All or nothing, all six states make up the New England division or if there are only four, come up with a new name.
Also, although Rhode Island beat the odds to win the region, it is still quite the decision to take such a small state and to put it up against three large ones. In New England, Massachusetts and Connecticut are large population-wise while the remaining four are on the smaller side. It was the perfect mix of states and teams that should not have been broken up.
Now with this new Metro Region, Rhode Island will always be at a massive disadvantage in terms of its talent pool to draw from. Smithfield’s win is being celebrated but this could be the most impressive win the state has had since these tournaments began decades ago. There is no reason why Smithfield should have come out on top, but it did. What a story.
It will be interesting to see how this region unfolds in the coming years. Rhode Island has been elite over the past two decades, so perhaps Little League recognized that and was ahead of the curve in putting it up against the buzz saw that is New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Maybe I am not giving Little League enough credit in its thinking, however, I am very confident that that is not the case.
It will be fun to once again see one of our local teams represented in Williamsport. Rhode Island never disappoints this time of year and the fact that Smithfield is headed to the big dance is just another feather in the cap of this beautiful state.
We have seen plenty of baseball players from around here reach the Big Leagues, with Hendricken’s Alex Clemmey being the latest example. It surprises me, just a little, that this state still gets a bit overlooked in this sport. When looking at the number of years that these teams have advanced, you’d think that this would be one of the hot spot for scouts to visit. Sure, these kids are only 12 years old, but at the very least their foundation will be as strong as any to build on as they enter high school.
Let’s make sure we root for Smithfield. This is more than just a team that reached Williamsport, this is a statement made on behalf of Rhode Island. It is a little bit more than just a team that won its region, it’s a truly an underdog story.
Unbelievably, fall sports are right around the corner as we wind the summer down. I know that every summer we say is the fastest summer to date, but this year really feels that way.
Having said that, I just wanted to keep y’all posted about what is to come here in the next few weeks.
Fall season previews will be featured as we approach the regular season in early September. Our annual All-City section will also be dropping in the first half of September, so be on the look out for that as well.
Here is another reminder as well, that we are always open to story tips, information and suggestions. Especially during football season, we would like to run every score, every yard, every pass. We will be picking the high school roundups back up as well as our athletes of the week, so those are other sections to keep in mind as we move forward. I will also be dropping my annual fall sports predictions in the coming weeks as well.
It is always a bittersweet time of year. It’s never easy saying bye to the nice, warm weather and long days. But hey, if that means football, foliage and cooler nights, that’s not a bad transition.
I look forward to kicking the fall season off shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.