The RI East Bay Eagles were crowned champions of the Cooperstown Baseball Classic, sweeping through pool and bracket play undefeated. The tournament is played on natural turf diamonds adjacent to Clark Sports Center in the picturesque village where baseball is believed to have been invented. Beside the Eagles who hail from Rhode Island, the field included teams from Upstate New York, Western Massachusetts and Northern Pennsylvania.
Clark Sports Center is the site where the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum holds its induction ceremony each year.
RI East Bay Eagles 11 – Western Mass Storm (Agawam, MA) 0
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 4 Storm hitters in two innings of work.
The Eagles banged out 10 hits and drew 5 walks en route to this pool play win. Connor 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.
RI East Bay Eagles 12 – Nor-Gwynn Hawks (North Wales, PA) 2
The Eagles again used as assortment of pitchers to keep their options open for bracket play. Will Panarello, Kevin Gower, Kyle Bicho, Andrew Preuit, Nico Salvaggio and Connor Pratt handled the duties.
The Eagles earned their runs on 12 hits and 3 walks, including homeruns from Kevin Gower, Scott Dickervitz and Kyle 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.
RI East Bay Eagles 12 – Western Mass Storm (Agawam, MA) 0
The Eagles moved in to bracket play as the top seed and awaiting the winner of the quarterfinal match between the Storm and the Webster County Rattlers (Rochester, NY).
The Eagles’ semifinal rematch with the Storm yielded a familiar outcome. Nico Salvaggio went the distance and held the Storm hitless in a game shortened to four innings by the mercy rule.
Kevin Gower, Andrew Preuit, Will Panarello and Salvaggio each contributed a pair of hits toward the Eagles total of 13 base knocks, with Preuit and Salvaggio driving home three runs apiece. Grant McCarty had a hit and scored twice.
RI East Bay Eagles 9 – Nor-Gwyn Hawks 3 (North Wales, PA)
The championship game was played under overcast (and at times rainy) skies and pitted the Eagles against winner of the other semifinal, in which the Hawks bested the Amsterdam Rams (Amsterdam, NY).
Will Panarello earned the complete game victory and struck out 5 Hawks.
The Eagles had to overcome an early 2-0 deficit in this 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.
Evan Ramroth led off the fifth inning with a homerun to left field. Scott Dickervitz had two hits for the Eagles. Connor Pratt had a hit and two RBI. Mason Gomes, Kevin Gower and Panarello also contributed RBI’s.