2021 CALL/TIMES BASEBALL PREVIEW: Valley teams have potential to be special
By Brendan McGair & Branden Mello
May 17, 2021

The date was June 12, 2019 when Mount St. Charles pitcher Tommy Burke fielded a comebacker to the mound for the final out of the Division II baseball finals at McCoy Stadium. The 1-3 putout put a bow on Mount’s two-games-to-none sweep of Barrington for the D-II crown.

It’s a game that went in the books as the last RIIL baseball contest we would see in quite some time after COVID-19 took an eraser to last spring’s season.

Plenty has changed since the last time we saw are area squads step on the diamond. Some of them were poised for promising 2020 seasons that will forever be mentioned in “what if” terms. With the Pawtucket Red Sox crossing state lines, McCoy Stadium has gone from being the longtime home of the Division I and Division II high school baseball finals to home of a herd of geese.

Similar to high school softball, baseball teams in all three divisions find themselves adhering to the “Race to Rhode Island College” mantra. Will the Blackstone Valley be represented when late June rolls around? Time will tell, but what we do know is that it’s time to meet the players on this year’s squads.

In alphabetical order starting with Division I, you’ll find thumbnail sketches of each school that’s located within the Woonsocket Call/Pawtucket Times readership area:

Head coach: Paul Jacques
2019 league record: 12-6 (Division II-B)
2019 postseason results: Defeated Narragansett (4-3) in D-II preliminaries; defeated Middletown (7-5) in D-II quarterfinals; defeated Tolman (two games to one) in D-II semifinals; defeated Barrington (two games to none) in D-II finals.

Returning players: Brendan Donahue, senior, OF; Ceejay Laquerre, senior, P/SS.
Notable newcomers: Alec Rizzi, senior, C; Eddie Mulligan, senior, 3B; Gage Jacques, junior, 1B/OF; Matt Eagan, junior, P/OF; Deke Mousseau, sophomore, P/OF; A.J. Parrillo, sophomore, 1B/DH; Garrick Godin, sophomore, P; Deke Mousseau, sophomore, P/OF; Teddy Merrill, sophomore, INF/OF; Brady Garthee, sophomore, sophomore, INF; Kyle Wagener, sophomore, P/OF; Connor Thibault, freshman, freshman, P/2B; Emmanuel Adeyeye, freshman, OF/C; Connor Michaud, freshman, OF.

Outlook: The defending D-II champs from the 2019 season weren’t afforded the opportunity to defend their crown as the Mounties find themselves competing in the state’s top division for the first time since 2012. … No question, Laquerre is the team’s the best athlete. You can find him at shortstop when he’s not taking the mound as Mount’s top pitcher. He also bats leadoff. … Donahue can play both left field and center field. Like Laquerre, he’s also a captain and going to need to provide a substantial contribution in the batter’s box. … Rizzi is another captain and slides into the catcher’s spot that was previously manned by 2020 graduate Trey Bourque. “He’s learning on the fly and doing what we’re asking him to do,” said Jacques about Rizzi. … The fourth captain is Mulligan, a late-season callup when the Mounties won it all two years ago. … Godin is the No. 2 starter. … There’s enough trust in Thibault’s pitching ability that Jacques won’t hesitate to throw the ninth grader out there in pressure-packed situations. … Mousseau is another pitching option. “He’s thrown some bullpens. We’re looking to get him out there soon,” said Jacques. … The biggest question surrounding MSC is whether the team will supply enough offense … The Mounties are not featuring JV program this spring. Thus, the varsity player pool is deeper than what Jacques has been accustomed to during past seasons.

Head coach’s take: “They’re hard workers. There are no complaints about their work ethic. They want to learn the game and they want to get better. They understand that we’re up a big hill [competing in D-I] but they’ve been putting in the effort the entire time.”