By ALEX SPONSELLER New England Frozen Lemonade has gotten off to a strong start to begin its run at an RI 19-20 Elite Baseball championship this summer. NEFL opened its season with a 4-2 victory over visiting Gershkoff Auto last week at Mickey Stevens.
By ALEX SPONSELLER New England Frozen Lemonade has gotten off to a strong start to begin its run at an RI 19-20 Elite Baseball championship this summer.
NEFL opened its season with a 4-2 victory over visiting Gershkoff Auto last week at Mickey Stevens.
Caden Haley knocked in Jake Randall and Jack Gannon on a two-run double in the first and later scored on a wild pitch to give NEFL the early 3-0 advantage. Gannon went on to hit an RBI single in the sixth, scoring Ucci and keeping Gershkoff at bay to hold on for the win.
NEFL was led by starting pitcher Tyler Parks on the mound, and held Gershkoff to just three hits.
“I'm psyched, this is my happy place, this is my zen, I do this for nothing. I’m just so happy to be out here and to hit the field. For the kids, they’re itching to play. Some are playing travel, but they aren’t going as strong as they were so it’s nice for them to get out here,” said NEFL manager Mike Fratus, who was happy with how well the process went in getting the new league established. “It went pretty smooth, the board did a great job of following directions in terms of spacing things out, using sanitizers, the board followed the rules and guidelines and it happened quick. We were talking about it in June and now we’re getting things going in the second week of July.”
Although the team is getting off to a late start, Fratus is not worried about any rust and is taking the same approach as he would any other summer tournament.
“We were able to practice once we got our league insurance, we had about five practices before the season started so the rust is off. We’ve done live pitching, live batting, we’re going to have to ease our pitching into it, but even just a few innings will be sufficient,” said Fratus. “We’re taking the same approach that we would in any other season. I actually kind of wish that we had the same schedule because we have one of the best teams we’ve had in some time. But overall the approach is the same.”
With many returning players and a well-balanced roster, Fratus and company have high expectations … which include a league championship by summer’s end.
“Our expectation is to win the whole thing, the coaches and players, we all feel that way and we have a team here that is capable of doing that,” said Fratus. “I’ve got a mix, we’ve got a handful of Hendricken kids, a handful of Pilgrim kids, my Toll Gate kids and even a player from La Salle. They’re also all Warwick residents which is great. They come together, they know each other, they’ve been playing together for a very long time, so I see no problem in going in there and competing. It’s championship or bust.”