With their appearance this year, Barrington Little League of Rhode Island became the fifth Rhode Island team in the last six years to represent the New England Region at the Little League Baseball® World Series. This year marks Barrington’s first trip to Williamsport.
In the opening round, Rhode Island did not record a hit in a 3-0 loss to Virginia, representing the Southeast region. Just six innings after arriving in Williamsport, they faced elimination, and a quick trip home loomed large.
“As soon as we lost to that great Virginia team, the first thing we talked about in the huddle after the game was that’s something we got to learn from,” said Rhode Island manager Chris Promades. “Our backs are against the wall, and they’ve been that way since day one.”
When Mr. Promades says day one, he is not exaggerating.
Rewind back to the District round, the first stop on the road to Williamsport. After losing their first game, they needed to win seven straight to stay alive. That’s exactly what they did.
“We don’t talk about the wins and losses,” said Mr. Promades. “We talk about going out there, day in and day out, and battling, grinding, and just fighting.”
Facing a 7-2 deficit with one out in the final inning of the State Championship, they rallied. Eight runs later, Barrington Little League was heading to the Regional Tournament where more adversity awaited.
“These kids have earned it every step of the way,” said Mr. Promades.
In the Regional Semifinal, Rhode Island fell to New Hampshire. They went on to win two straight games, including the Regional Championship against the same New Hampshire team, to finally advance to Williamsport.
Taking the field in the second round against Bowling Green Eastern Little League of Kentucky, the first-timers from Rhode Island faced the only Little League team in the pool that had qualified for the Little League World Series in the past. They had been twice before, in fact, with their last trip coming in 2016.
Just three days, and one game, into the 2019 Little League World Series, Barrington Little League faced elimination against the only team that had been here before. But this adversity was merely icing on the cake for this club.
“That’s something we got to learn from,” Mr. Promades said. “We’ve got to take that and build on that momentum and use it to our advantage.”
Entering round two with an immaculate 10-0 record in elimination games this summer, Barrington Little League rode that momentum to a 6-1 victory over the Great Lakes Region Champions.
“That’s what these guys do, they just bond together and they form those special friendships,” said Mr. Promades. “They know what the whole team is all about.”
This team faced elimination from day one. They will play the rest of the Little League World Series that way, but it’s become business as usual for the players.
“That’s what we’ve done from day one and going forward,” said Mr. Promades. “We’ve had that mindset and it’s not going to change.”