In a dramatic comeback victory, the Rhode Island Baseball Club Under 14 AAU team took the title at an international competition, the Cooperstown Baseball World Tournament, this week with an 8-7 win in the bottom of the seventh inning against a team from Indiana.
After a scoreless first inning and giving up seven runs in the top of the second inning, the Rhode Island team got shutdown pitching from reliever Andrew Frey (two innings), and eventual game-winner Ryan Quirk; while chipping away at the 7-0 lead and tying it in the bottom of the fourth. Then in the bottom of the seventh, the RI team loaded the bases with three straight singles by Kyle Barbato, Nick Pietrantozzi and Andrew Frey before MJ Notorianni stepped up to the plate and hit a walkoff single, scoring Barbato and giving his team the championship.
In the first round of pool play, the Rhode Island team went 4-1, beating Israel 3-2 on a walkoff single by Jimmy Gianquitti in extra innings; losing to Colorado 4-1 in extra innings, and then beating New York 14-4, and Ohio 10-0 on a no-hitter by Liam Vetter, before ending pool play against Indiana with a 3-2 win.
By virtue of their 4-1 record, the Rhody team was the top seed and earned a bye in the first round before having to face the team they lost to in pool play, Colorado. However, they were up to the task, defeating the Coloradans 7-4 with Ryan Quirk earning the win in a game that Matt Sweeney started and starred offensively by knocking in three runs.
The team is made up of middle and high school players from throughout Rhode Island, Matt Sweeney, Matt O’Rourke and PJ Hazian from Western Hills Middle School, MJ Notorianni and Andrew Frey from Immaculate Conception, Tyler DiPetrillo and Jimmy Gianquitti from Bishop Hendricken, Kyle Barbato from Toll Gate, Ryan Quirk from La Salle, Liam Vetter from Portsmouth and Nick Pietrantozzi from Scituate. The team is managed by Mark Cahill with coaching assistance from Tom O’Rourke and Brendan Barbato.