The RI East Bay Eagles were crowned champions of the Cooperstown Baseball Classic last weekend, sweeping through pool and bracket play undefeated.
Besides the Eagles, who hail from Rhode Island, the field included teams from New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
The Eagles began the tournament with an 11-0 win over the Western Mass Storm. Nico Salvaggio, Kevin Gower, Kyle Bicho and Connor Pratt combined to no-hit and shutout the Storm, whose only base-runners reached via walk. Gower struck out four Storm hitters in two innings of work.
The Eagles, meanwhile, put together 10 hits and drew five walks en route to the win. Pratt was a perfect 3-for-3 including a triple with a pair of RBI. Evan Ramroth went 2-for-2 with a triple and an RBI.
The Eagles’ second win was a 12-2 contest of the Nor-Gwynn Hawks of Pennsylvania. The Eagles again used an assortment of pitchers to keep their options open for bracket play. Will Panarello, Gower, Bicho, Andrew Preuit, Salvaggio and Pratt handled the duties.
The Eagles earned their runs on 12 hits and three walks, including home runs from Gower, Scott Dickervitz and Bicho. Ahmad Donaldson had a triple and a pair of RBI. Mason Gomes added a double for the Eagles.
Catcher Grant McCarty had one of the Eagles’ defensive highlights of the tournament, when he threw out a Hawks base-runner stealing second to end the second inning and end a scoring threat.
The Eagles began bracket play as the top seed with a re-match against the Storm, who they once again defeated, this time by a 12-0 margin.
Salvaggio went the distance and held the Storm hitless in a game shortened to four innings by the mercy rule. Gower, Preuit, Will Panarello and Salvaggio each contributed a pair of hits toward the Eagles total of 13 base hits, with Preuit and Salvaggio driving home three runs apiece. McCarty had a hit and scored twice.
The championship game was played under overcast (and at times rainy) skies and pitted the Eagles against the Hawks. The Eagles won, 9-3.
Panarello earned the complete game victory, striking out five hawks.
The Eagles had to overcome an early 2-0 deficit in the rematch, but answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the first and added another pair in the second to take the lead for good.
Ramroth led off the fifth inning with a home run to left field. Dickervitz had two hits for the Eagles. Pratt had a hit and two RBI. Gomes, Gower and Panarello also contributed RBIs.
The tournament was played on natural turf diamonds adjacent to Clark Sports Center where baseball is believed to have been invented. Clark Sports Center is the site of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.