Baseball: Westerly Vanquishes EG, 6-3, in State Final

by | Jun 11, 2024

Above: ​​Cade Thomas takes a rip. Photo by James Bazzano

The East Greenwich Avengers opened the season with just one win in their first four league games. Not a start that screamed state finals. But, led by a dynamic mix of senior leaders, emerging stars, and selfless role players, the Avengers stormed back to the Division 2 finals for the second year in a row. Unfortunately, their gallant run ended with a finals loss to the Westerly Bulldogs at Rhode Island College on Saturday. 

Sparked by senior captain Sean Giannelli’s hot bat and sophomore Van Martin’s keen eye, EG battled right to the final pitch as they did all year. Still, they couldn’t overcome an early 5-0 deficit and dropped the series finale 6-3. That gave Westerly their second title in three years with a two-game sweep of the best of three finals.

In the finale, Giannelli boosted his average to .319 with two hits in three at bats, including a double. Giannelli also scored a run. Meanwhile, Martin reached base safely three times and drove in a run by working Westerly’s hard-throwing Jack Tenuta and Zach Miner for three free passes. Senior captain catcher Alex DeTomasis and senior third baseman Ryan Fay drove in EG’s other two runs. All the while, freshman Keyan Zahedi kept the Avengers in the game with 4.1 innings of steely-eyed scoreless relief.

EG reached the finals riding the wave of a nine-game winning streak that gave them the third seed in the post-season tournament. The streak started with a come-from-behind, extra inning thriller against Woonsocket on May 11, which featured five scoreless innings of clutch relief from senior lefty Jack Drolet and Giannelli. That was a foreshadowing of great things to come as Drolet and Giannelli would later take turns baffling second seed Barrington from the mound in back-to-back playoff games to send the Avengers to the finals. 

Giannelli was the team’s ace all year, finishing with an 8-3 record. Drolet was 3-1, including his pressure-packed, complete game playoff win over Barrington. Sophomore Anders Nelson contributed four wins from the hill and junior Winslow Klika earned two saves while setting an Avenger single season record with 15 pitching appearances. 

On the offensive side of the ball, Giannelli was joined by a host of mighty Avengers during EG’s successful 2024 campaign. Nelson (.329 average) led the team in RBIs with 24, while senior captain Cade Thomas (team leading .352 average,.535 on base percentage and 24 runs scored, 3 triples, 2 HRs), Fay (.452 OBP, 7 HBP), DeTomasis (.423 OBP, 22 runs, 1 triple, 1 HR), and Martin (.300 avg, .400 OBP) all drove in 16 runs apiece. That offense powered the Avengers to an overall record of 17-9. 

“Top to bottom, seniors to freshmen, this team had great chemistry and a remarkable group of selfless, team-oriented players,” head coach Bill O’Connell said. “Star players, role players, bench players. Each one of them did something to help us succeed this year. Guys like senior Brandon Fairbanks and junior Alex Tullo, who had excellent second halves at the plate, Ryan Sheeran, who was amazing in right field,  and senior pinch runner Matt Madden. Then there were freshmen like Anthony Mazzeo, who played great first base for us all year, and Brady O’Brien, who came through with some key hits when we really needed them. They all contributed. It was a tremendous, fun team to be around.”

Sean Giannelli celebrates a double.​​ Photo by James Bazzano

Alex DeTomasis toils behind the plate.​​ Photo by James Bazzano

​​Ryan Fay makes play from 3rd. Photo by James Bazzano

Keyan Zahedi throws a pitch. Photo by ​​James Bazzano

Avenger bench watches intently.​​ Photo by James Bazzano

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