MANCHESTER, N.H. — The summer ended a bit controversially for the Riverside Post 10 Junior Division American Legion Baseball team earlier this week as the Rhode Island state champs finished fourth in the 2014 Northeast Regional Tournament.
A couple of perceived bad calls left the locals feeling hard done by, according to Post 10 manager Keith Marquis Sr. Instead of playing for the regional title, Riverside, back-to-back state champs, settled for going 1-2 in New Hampshire, finishing with a 23-5 overall record for the season.
“Obviously we had a great season with that record,” Marquis said. “We reached one of our goals, which was to win the state title again. We fell short of our ultimate goal, which was to win regionals, but the kids had fun and we’re giving Post 10 another trophy. It was a great season.”
The trip north for the locals started off well, Riverside defeating the Maine state champ from South Portland, 4-3, Saturday afternoon, Aug. 9, at Gill Stadium. Adam Duarte went six plus innings on the mound to earn the win for Riverside. Kyle Marquis pitched the seventh for the save. He also drove in three of the four runs on two hits. Mike Allienello added a key knock as well.
Things quickly turned sour for Post 10 in its next outing, a winners’ bracket game against Massachusetts state champ Post 86 of Braintree the following afternoon. Riverside trailed 4-0 early, then cut the deficit in half, but couldn’t do anymore damage with the bases loaded.
Next, the first of the alleged missed calls by the umpires went against the locals. Braintree put runners at first and second with two out. Post 10 then executed a pick-off play at second, appearing to nail the runner and get out of the jam. The base umpire, though, called the runner safe. Post 86 followed with three consecutive singles to build a 7-2 lead.
Riverside got one back and later loaded the bases in the seventh inning trailing 7-3. Having used all of its substitutes in the middle innings, Riverside was soon forced to forfeit the contest when one of its players was ejected by the home plate umpire after throwing his bat in disgust when he popped out with the sacks full. Braintree officially won the game by a 7-0 score.
“We thought for sure we had him. The photographer from the local paper said to pick up a copy the next day. And sure enough, there was the picture with Adam Duarte (at shortstop) making the tag. The thing in the seventh, the kid didn’t say anything. He just flipped the bat in disgust because he didn’t get it done with the bases loaded,” Marquis said. “But like we told the kids, sometimes things don’t go your way. That’s part of life. The calls didn’t go our way. The kids played hard. It was tough to swallow, but it happens.”
The locals did have one game remaining, for third place against Tolland, Conn. Post 10 lost in extra innings as Tolland rallied late and eventually won by the score of 8-7 in nine frames. Another apparently missed called by the same umpire crew as the previous day hurt Riverside’s chances.
Post 10 couldn’t hold an early 6-0 lead, but did take a 7-5 edge into the seventh inning. With a runner on first, a Tolland hitter ripped a shot to right that took a hard bounce off the artificial surface. Racing around to score, the lead runner looked to have missed third base. He stopped for a moment and attempted to retouch the bag, but the hitter was fast approaching third. The lead runner then continued back towards home and scored. Post 10’s protest was dismissed by the umpires. That run scored and soon after the tying run came around.
Tolland later put a series of hits together in the ninth to bring the eventual winning run around. Derek Silva was Riverside’s top offensive player in the contest.
Braintree, which blew a three-run lead in the top of the seventh inning, responded with a run in the home half of the frame to edge Dover, N.H., Post 8 to win the regional championship, 5-4.
Also of note, R.I. state runner-up Warwick PAL Post 101 lost both of its game in the regional event, 5-1 to Tolland and 6-5 to Littleton, Mass., Post 249.