by Rhode Island Connie Mack Baseball - 2023, 2023-10-27T05:19:21.000-07:00October 27 2023, at 05:19 AM PDT
By ALEX SPONSELLER (Warwick Beacon)
The Flood Ford Auto baseball team would roll to a two-game state championship win over Coventry to win the Connie Mack title on Monday evening at McCarthy Field.
It was a long time coming for Flood, who fell in the finals last summer and lost in the semis the year before. Flood would finish the job in Game 2 in an 8-4 win and pitcher Christian Butera went on to win the MVP Award.
“It’s very satisfying. I’ve been waiting for this for three years. To be able to win it with all of the guys on this team, it’s satisfying,” said Butera after the win.
Flood finished the regular season with the top seed but suffered a setback in a 5-3 loss to West Warwick in the opening game of the semifinals after sweeping Narragansett/South Kingstown in the quarters. Flood then went on to win the next two games by a combined score of 24-1 to advance to the finals and continued to roll.
“We didn’t hit the ball well that day and we knew that we were a better team than that. The next game, half of the team was there early in the batting cage. That’s the kind of team we have, it shows how dedicated these guys are,” said Butera.
“Our approach was totally different from what we did throughout the season. We had to remind them that we didn’t play our game and that’s why we lost. When we play our game, our style, teams can’t touch us. We wanted to start on teams early and keep our foot on the pedal. That’s what we did these past four games and just kept working forward,” added Flood coach Bryan Leahey.
Parker Boyd, Butera, Jack DePalma and Nolan LaPerche all knocked in runs for Flood in the win while Butera earned the victory on the mound. Other standout players for Flood this summer included Jude Monte, Ben Picone, Matt Jarmie and Mason Marchessault. Jarmie and Marchessault each tossed no-hitters in the regular season.
Getting back to the basics and playing clean baseball helped propel the team down the stretch according to Leahey.
“Since the end of the spring these guys have been saying that they wanted to get back to the championship and get it done. We had a little hiccup against West Warwick but from there our pitchers dominated, our hitters hit and we played great defense,” said Leahey. “It goes back to what (Bishop Hendricken) Coach Ed Holloway always says, ‘Pitching and defense wins championships.’”