If you like watching top-notch youth baseball competition, plan on being at Engineers Field inside Johnston War Memorial Park where the best four teams featuring players ages 13-14 will complete for the coveted Little League state championship beginning with Saturday’s twin bill.
Perhaps the most interesting – and important – part about the weekend’s four-team state finals – which will feature talented teams from Cumberland, Tiverton and East Greenwich – is that the Gary Rianna-managed Johnston Junior All-Stars are hosting the double elimination event.
“We’re all excited and looking forward to the upcoming challenges,” said Rianna, who’ll send right hander Derek Salvatore to the pitcher’s mound for Saturday’s Game 1 vs. Cumberland that will get underway at 1 p.m. “It should be an interesting series.”
And, as Rianna said with a smile, “We’re fresh from winning the District I Championship, but our kids want to bring home the big (state title) prize.”
Thus, Rianna announced Johnston’s starting line-up for Saturday’s Game One will feature Mike Laflamme handling the catching chores with Armani Arias at first base, Nate Lewis at second, Dillon Martins in the hole at shortstop and Davian Nunez anchoring the hot corner at third base.
Johnston’s talented outfield from left to right will include Aiden McGarry, Mike Salzillo and Jonah Pecchia.
Rianna’s roster also includes Antonio DeFalco, Chris Civetti, Dylan Guernon and Nick Micheletti. The Johnston skipper is assisted by Jack Rianna and Gary Salzillo.
East Greenwich and Tiverton will kick off the state finals Saturday at 10 a.m. with two more games on tap Sunday with Saturday’s winners meeting in a 6:30 p.m. winner’s bracket contest and Saturday’s losers trying to stave off elimination in a 3:30 p.m. Sunday contest.
The tournament will continue though Friday’s state championship contest that’s set for 6 p.m. All games will be played at Engineers Field. Cutline for submitted pix
TOURNEY TROUPE: The Johnston Little League Junior Division All-Star squad, which is made up of players ages 13-14 and will play host to this weekend’s four-team state championship series, includes: Jonah Pecchia, Michael Laflamme, Davian Nunez, Armani Arias, Michael Salzillo, Aiden McGarry, Derek Salvatore, Antonio DeFalco, Chris Civetti, Dylan Guernon, Nate Lewis, Nick Micheletti, Manager Gary Rianna and coaches Jack Rianna and Gary Salzillo. (Submitted photo) Here is a look at the rosters in the RI state junior league tournament: District 1 – Johnston
Manager Gary Rianna, coaches Zach Rianna and Gary Salzillo. Players Michael Salzillo, Dylan Martins, Antonio DeFalco, Derek Salvatore, Chris Civetti, Davian Nunez, Nick Micheletti, Dylan Guernon, Nate Lewis, Aiden McGarry, Jonah Pecchia, Michael Laflamme, Armani Arias. District 2 – Tiverton
Manager Paul Nasiff, coaches Chad Mercer and John Zeller. Players Zack Scheffler, Keeghan Conway, Cameron Lambert, Trey Fisher, Ryan Poland, Jason Potvin, Michael Zeller, Jordan Panell, Nicholas Mercer, Nicholas Nasiff, Frank Vollaro, Jack Durost. District 3 – East Greenwich
Manager Dave Ucci, coaches Jay Giannelli and Tom O’Brien. Players Thomas Speltz, Sean Giannelli, Grogan O’Brien, Robert Brooks, Michael Ucci, Ryan Fay, Ryan Marcantonio, Lenny Kiernan, Blake Lukens, Logan Lama, Noah McParlin, Kody Fretts, Nick Martin. District 4 – Cumberland American
Manager Anthony Martin, coaches Jairo Benitez and Michael Bradshaw. Players Steven Zarcaro, Caden Hogan, Anthony Martin, Diego Benitez, Jaelen Brown, Luke Plumer, Kyle Larson, Scott Coughlin, Michael Bradshaw, Jr., Alex Iannuccilli, Nathan Otrando