Defending Division I state baseball champion Cranston West has picked up where it left off last season.
Through games of April 18, the Falcons (5-0) were tied for first place with Hendricken in Division 1 Central.
And like any good team, the Falcons are doing it with pitching and hitting.
Just check their last three games:
Rich Reo pitched no-hit ball until the sixth inning – the second time this season he’s lost a no-hitter in the sixth – and Frank Pettinato and Tony Crudale each collected three hits and two RBI in a 7-1 victory over Pilgrim.
Ryan Long scattered six hits and went the distance as the Falcons edged East Providence, 3-2.
Rob DeCosta led the last of the seventh with a solo home run which snapped a tie and gave the Falcons a 3-2 triumph over Cranston East.
In other games of note:
La Salle’s Caleb Gardner went the distance on a three-hitter, striking out 10 in the process, as the Rams beat Lincoln, 3-1. Frank D’Amato’s two-run homer and Jon Lapolla’s solo blast accounted for the Rams’ scoring.
Kyle Tracey threw only 95 pitches and went nine innings as Cranston East nipped Warwick Vets, 3-2.
Scituate’s Scott Iacobucci tossed a no-hitter, replete with 11 whiffs and only one walk, as the Spartans blanked Davies, 14-0, in a Division II-North game.
LAWSON TOPS ALL-STATE BASKETBALL TEAM
Senior forward Jarell Lawson led Central to the state basketball championship, the Knights’ first in 20 years.
Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise when he was named First Team All-State.
Lawson averaged 19 points and 10.9 rebounds for the 19-4 Knights.
Joining Lawson on the First Team are North Kingstown senior center Evan Scott (he averaged 16.7 ppg. and tied the school record with 69 blocked shots); West Warwick senior forward Ryan Lawton (20.1 ppg. and 1.35 rpg.); La Salle junior guard Tom Hunt (18.9 ppg.); and, for the second consecutive year, St. Raphael junior guard Charles Correa (20.4 ppg. and 7.5 assists per game).
Second Team honors were accorded to St. Raphael senior forward Cesar Mejia, Hope senior forward Emmanuel Kargbo, Mount Pleasant sophomore guard Kip Stewart, North Providence senior guard Austin Van Bemmelen, Westerly junior guard Austin Cilley and West Warwick senior guard John Morrison.
WAS SILVA PUSHED OUT THE DOOR?
As is the case with many schools, coaches must apply for their positions on an annual basis regardless of their tenure.
That was the case with Mount Hope head football coach Ron Silva. But in what was anything but a “harmonious meeting,” Silva exited his session with school administrators after confirming he would not apply to remain the Huskies’ coach for the 2012 season.
In five seasons at the helm, Silva compiled a 22-19 record in Division II games and guided the Huskies to the playoffs four times.
Mount Hope advanced to the 2009 Super Bowl where it was blanked, 19-0, by Woonsocket.
Silva indicated he would like to continue coaching and noted he’s already received a few offers.
Elsewhere on the gridiron:
Moses Brown linebacker Sam Yules and West Warwick running back John Morrison top the 12 student-athletes who were named to the 2012 National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Rhode Island Golden Dozen.
The honor is accorded to the top 12 senior football players as selected by the state’s Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
Yules recorded a 4.07 GPA last fall in his school’s honors program while Morrison posted a 4.2 GPA which ranked him sixth in a class of 199.
Rounding out the Golden Dozen were Cumberland’s Brian Buxton, South Kingstown’s Sean Conley, Mount Hope’s Ted Moskala, East Providence’s Brendan Quigley, Smithfield’s Eric Ricciardi, St. Raphael’s Davon Robertson, Barrington’s Jack Ryan, Middletown’s Frank Wiley, Narragansett’s Matt Pistacchio and Coventry’s Alex Zannella.
Regardless of the fact he played for a Division II school, Central’s Mike Washington arguably was one of the top two running backs in the state last year (among other things, he scored 25 touchdowns; earned First Team All-State honors; and led Central to the Super Bowl where it was nipped, 26-25, by Chariho).
Not surprisingly, Washington was voted Player of the Year by the Providence Gridiron Club.
Chariho’s Mike Kelly was named Coach of the Year; La Salle’s Josh Morris was voted Back of the Year; and Middletown’s Frank Wiley was named Lineman of the Year.
As virtually everyone in the state knows, East Providence’s Sandy Gorham is more than an eminently successful football coach (during his tenure with the Townies, he’s guided them to four Division I Super Bowl championships).
Gorham, a physical education teacher has taught and coached at EP for 36 years. He received a well-deserved honor recently when he was named the Educator of the Month (for March) by the East Providence High Student Council.
TOUGH COACH TO REPLACE
North Smithfield has a big pair of skates to fill after Bill Nangle announced his retirement as the coach of the girls’ hockey team.
North Smithfield was one of the first five teams to sign up when the Interscholastic League added girls’ hockey for the 2002-03 season.
Nangle bucked the odds by developing a winning program at a public school with one of the state’s smallest enrollments. His team won the Division II state title to cap the 2007-08 season.
SIGNING ON THE DOTTED LINE
Rhode Island student-athletes continue to sign letters of intent to continue their careers at the college level.
Recent signees include:
Classical’s Joe Velez who’s receiving a full ride to Ohio State. Velez excels in the 25-pound weight throw, the shot put and the discus. At one time in January, he ranked No. 1 in the nation in the weight throw with a heave of 76-11 3/4.
La Salle’s Dakota Dailey-Harris, whose specialty is the high jump, will continue her track career at Miami (Fla.). Dailey-Harris is coming off an indoor season during which she captured both the state and New England championships in her event.
Narragansett’s Diana Bennett will play her college hockey at Boston University. Bennett, whose brother Mac is a star defenseman at Michigan, played two seasons’ for Narragansett’s boys’ team before transferring this year to Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass.
Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey plus minor league baseball in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y, he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.