Great pitching, defense and timely hitting was the formula for Portsmouth Little League 12U all-stars as they shut down Middletown 5-1 at Aquidneck Field on Saturday and thwarted Riverside 5-2 at …
Great pitching, defense and timely hitting was the formula for Portsmouth Little League 12U all-stars as they shut down Middletown 5-1 at Aquidneck Field on Saturday and thwarted Riverside 5-2 at home on Sunday. The two wins earned the stars a winner’s bracket quarterfinals game at Sherman field against Bristol on July 9 at 5:45 p.m.
Portsmouth head coach Bob Campion said that his team would like to play Bristol again and now they’ll get their chance. “They popped us in the mouth last year,” he said. “Middletown finished us off. We kind of got a little even-steven with Middletown on Saturday and we’d like to get even with Bristol.”
Coach Campion has been coaching this set of stars since they were eight year-olds playing in the Andreozzi Tournament up in Pawtucket. “It’s been them and I and the same dads, Brule, Boiani and Smith helping out and trying to get this done,” he said. “I’m on this little league carousel of fun for the second time around. There was an eleven year gap in between,” Coach Campion said. His oldest son is twenty three and his youngest, Ryan, is the catcher for the current squad.
Humm stymies Riverside
Portsmouth pitcher Ben Humm used his fast ball, slider and curve to stymie the Riverside offense on Sunday. Humm struck out nine, walked one and allowed just four hits and two runs in six innings.
“I felt nervous, but that’s it,” said Humm after the win. “My fielders made the plays.”
“Ben pitched his butt off today,” said Coach Campion. “The defense was top notch and played some solid defense behind him. Laying out for line drives. Gunning down runners trying to reach an extra bag. We made most of our routine plays.”
Humm whispered to catcher Ryan Campion in the final inning, that he wanted to pitch outside to East Providence hitters, particularly JJ Renaud who hit a homer off him in the fourth inning. “They can’t hit the outside balls,” he said.
Riverside struck first and scored a run off Humm in the first inning. The tall slender righty with blonde surfer style hair flowing from under his cap bore down and struck out two in each of the second, fourth and fifth innings.
The Portsmouth offense started the game slow, but began to click the second time through the order in the bottom of the third inning. Jacob Labonte, hitting from the ninth spot, singled off Riverside pitcher Alex Enright to start the inning. Lead off hitter Tyler Doucet doubled to give Portsmouth runners at second and third for Ryan Campion. The two hitter smashed a hit off Enright, plating both Labonte and Doucet to give Portsmouth a 2-0 lead. Three hitter Tyler Boiani hit a fly to the outfield deep enough to score Campion for a 3-0 lead. Humm reached on an error and Enright walked Carter Doran to load the bases, but Enright struck out Mason Smith and got Kane Brule to pop up to first to end the threat.
Riverside struck back in the top of the fourth inning. Power hitter JJ Renaud, hitting from the third spot, blasted a one out, solo homer over the left centerfield fence to cut the lead to 3-2. Humm shook his head as Riverside fans cheered from the outfield. Clean up hitter Chris Charbonneau singled and then Humm struck out Jose Figueroa for the second out of the inning. Wyatt Andrews singled to give Riverside runners on first and second with two outs for seven hitter Parker Andrews. Humm stiffened and struck him out on three straight pitches to end the inning and preserve the lead.
Portsmouth scored two more in the bottom of the fourth inning. Labonte led off and reached again, this time working a walk off Enright. Doucet followed with a single to give Portsmouth runners on first and second with no outs. Campion lined out to shortstop Jose Figueroa and he threw to first to catch Doucet off the bag for a double play. With Labonte on third base, Boiani ripped an RBI double into the gap to give Portsmouth a 4-2 lead. Humm stepped to the plate and smashed a double to plate Boiani for a 5-2 lead. Enright struck out Doran to end the inning. But the damage was done as Portsmouth fans cheered their team as they came in to get their gloves and head back out to the field.
Boiani struck out eight against rival Middletown
“It’s Portsmouth vs Middletown,” said Coach Campion on the enormity of Saturday’s game and the rivalry between the two towns. “You’ve been around long enough to know it doesn’t matter. Could be Tiddlywinks or Checkers, it’s Portsmouth vs Middletown.”
The Portsmouth offense jumped on Middletown pitcher Daniel Spearin and plated two runs in the first inning. Ryan Campion reached on an error with one out, then ran to second when Tyler Boiani grounded out to the second baseman. Ben Humm, hitting third, drilled a base hit to left field and scored Campion to give Portsmouth a 1-0 lead. Humm stole his way to around the bases and scored on a wild pitch to give Portsmouth a 2-0 lead. Carter Doran drew a walk but Rivan Patel struck out to end the inning.
The two run lead was enough for pitcher Tyler Boiani who struck out eight, walked one and allowed just three hits and a run in six innings of work. Though the defense helped Boiani out in the first inning. Humm playing shortstop, gobbled up a grounder and thew to first base for the first out. Boiani snared another grounder and threw to first for the second out. Then he struck out Middletown’s three hitter to end the inning and set the tone for what became a frustrating day for Middletown. Boiani struck out two in each of the second, third and fifth innings. Middletown scored their lone run in the second inning.
Portsmouth plated three insurance runs in the top of the fifth inning. Campion doubled to lead off and ran home on a double by Boiani to give Portsmouth a 3-1 lead. Humm singled home Boiani to make it 4-1. Patel singled home Humm with one out to make it 5-1.
“Our pitchers threw complete games and were under the pitch count of 85,” said Coach Campion. “Kudos to them and Coach Jay Brule, who put a lot of the pitch calling duties on my kid’s shoulders. Ryan’s been calling the bulk of the games and I’m proud of him.”
“We have a couple of other guys in the line up that usually stroke it,” Coach Campion said. “If we can get the offense firing on all cylinders, we should be a tough team to beat.”