The Warwick North 8U softball team competed in the USA Softball RI State Tournament last week, going toe to toe with some of the state’s best travel clubs and picking up a win against Johnston.
North decided to enter the tournament since Little League does not offer All-Stars at the 8U level. North had a tough task at hand, fielding a team made up largely of 7-year olds. However, they held their own and improved in each contest.
“It was a cool accomplishment for the kids. It’s a very young team, a lot of them are 7 and went up against 8 and 9-year olds. We didn’t go into it with any high expectations, we just wanted to give them an opportunity to play and develop against some good travel teams. It was a cool experience,” said North coach Kevin Wood.
The North coaches focused more on teaching the kids how to enjoy the game, be good teammates, and give it their all.
“The biggest thing we preached to the kids was to play hard and have fun. We have a lot of pride in the league and we want to start something special with the young kids. We’re trying to create a new mentality, and that was the best part. We saw as the season went on that the girls had more confidence as they went up to bat, they developed a greater camaraderie, it was great to be a part of,” said Wood. “That’s the main thing, we want these girls to love the game the way that we did when we were kids.”
Wood also saw noticeable growth throughout the tournament and the entire summer, and was thrilled to see the kids embrace the opportunity to compete at the top level.
“We had kids that couldn’t even swing the bat at the beginning of the season, and now they have the hand-eye coordination to do that. We just wanted to see the kids grow and they did that. These kids also grew as friends and teammates, and they were excited win or lose. They appreciated their parents, the coaches and the experience that they had. They always gave their all,” said Wood.
The North 10’s won the state championship, as well as Warwick Vets Middle School back in June. Pilgrim and Toll Gate also qualified for the playoffs this past spring.
Wood believes that Warwick has one of the strongest feeder systems in the state, and expects the city to continue its reign of softball dominance moving forward.
“I see a lot of talent going into this city and its future, especially in this group,” said Wood. “With the talent that they have, the development that they’ve had, I couldn’t pick a better group to represent this city.”
The members of the North 8U team included: Gabriella Pettinato, Cienna Fatorma, Nora Wood, Lyla Amitrano, Faith DiCarlo, Zoey Skinnard, Lorelei Hennion, Camden Zuercher, Bailee Lowe, Sara Sullivan, Ava Toher, Aubrey Nichols and Emily Lugo.