EAST PROVIDENCE — Vincent Enright’s two-run homer proved to the be all the Riverside Little League 11-12 Major Baseball Division All-Star team needed to defeat Bristol, 2-0, Sunday evening, July 16, at Forbes Field and claim the organization’s first District 2 title.
Riverside finished the tournament unbeaten and advances to the state championship event next weekend in Johnston at Kennedy Field/War Memorial Park.
“These kids are tough,” Riverside manager Vincent Enright said. “They have a lot of heart and a great bunch of kids. They are a home run hitting team, that is what they do.”
Just days after Riverside beat Bristol in a low scoring game, the locals likely knew early on Sunday they would have to do the same after a very quite first and second inning for both teams.
Riverside would make the first threat of the game in the top of the third as the locals put a man on first and second with one out before back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat.
Meanwhile, Riverside starting pitching, CJ Hess, continued to keep opposition off the board just one start after being hit the face with a pitched ball during an at bat against the same Bristol side.
Riverside would threaten again in the fourth when the locals put a runner on third. But the chance ended when the runner was called out at home plate during an attempted squeeze bunt.
As Hess continued to rack up the strikeouts and scoreless innings, Riverside’s offense finally returned the favor as Jared Gomes walked before the number two hitter, the younger Enright, came up in a big spot. Enright not only had been struggling at the plate recently, but also off the field with an illness. However, he didn't let that stop him from hitting what would prove to be a game-winning two-run homer to put Riverside up 2-0.
“He has been sick since Wednesday night with a temperature,” his dad and manager said. “He is a leader and I don’t care how sick he is, he isn’t coming out of the lineup along with a couple of other kids. Vinny is going to do something with his bat, it is just a matter of time.”
Hess proceeded to finish the final two innings of his complete game gem while only throwing 73 pitches in the process.
“He is unreal to comeback from an injury like that,” the elder Enright said of Hess. “He amazes me every time out. He is a pitcher not a thrower.”
Besides winning what is believed to be the organization’s first district title in the modern format, Riverside will also become the East Providence-based side to represent District 2 at states in recent memory.
“I think all the teams are great,” Manager Enright said of the Rhode Island event. “You throw everything out and everyone starts over again. If we are going to win the States we have to get better in all phases of the game including coaches. My money isn’t on any team except these guys who I fight with every day. It’s not just about baseball, it is about relationships.”