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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.’”
Led by the solid pitching of Tournament MVP, Christian Butera, Flood Ford finished their 2023 Summer Season winning the Rhode Island Connie Mack State Championship.
Butera, who had an outstanding summer on the mound, struck out seven batters and scattered seven hits in Flood’s 8-4 clincher.
Will Mascena (2/3, one double and three runs scored), Angel Fuscellaro (2/3, two runs scored) and Jack DePalma (rbi double) were some of the key hitters in Flood’s potent line up.
For Coventry, Mason Hunt had two hits and two rbi’s.
Flood Ford finished with a 14-4-1 final record.
The 2023 Connie Mack wooden bat summer season is one that the Coventry contingent will remember. In the best finish in over a decade, Coventry won 12 regular season games and advanced to the State Championship Series before losing to Flood Ford (Bishop Hendricken’s Summer Squad).
Flood Ford Auto (14-4-1) capped off the 2023 summer season by sweeping Coventry in the Rhode Island Connie Mack State Championship.
Game One: Flood Ford 11 Coventry 1
Led by the combined four-hit pitching of Matt Jarmie and Dylan Poloski, Flood Ford defeated Coventry, 11-1, in game one.
Offensively, they were led by Park Boyd (2/5, 2 rbi’s), Mason Brookfield (2/3, one triple) and Jude Monti (2 rbi’s).
Coventry received two hits each from Branden Deprete and Ethan Koczwarski.
Game Two: Flood Ford 8 Coventry 4
Christian Butera, the tournament Most Valuable Player, struck out seven and scattered seven hits in a complete game effort in Flood Ford’s 8-4 victory in game two.
Will Mascena (2/3, one double, three runs scored), Angel Fuscellaro (2/3, two runs scored, and Jack DePalma (rbi double) were the leading hitters for Flood.
Coventry received two hits and two rbi’s from Mason Hunt.