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Under the leadership of Griffin Crain, Hendricken’s baseball team achieves perfection; how they did it

PROVIDENCE – It’s hard to imagine a union between Gatorade Player of the Year and Louisville being incomplete.

More: Griffin Crain’s big week started with a big prize as he became a fixture in Hendricken history

That’s how Griffin Crain felt Saturday afternoon when he walked in the door. There was one rather big box he still had to check during his baseball career through Bishop Hendricken, but the opportunity to do so was in his hands at Rhode Island College.

Pitcher Griffin Crain is lifted by catcher Jack DePalma as Bishop Hendricken celebrates its 7-1 win over South Kingstown and the state title on Saturday afternoon.Pitcher Griffin Crain is lifted by catcher Jack DePalma as Bishop Hendricken celebrates its 7-1 win over South Kingstown and the state title on Saturday afternoon.

Pitcher Griffin Crain is lifted by catcher Jack DePalma as Bishop Hendricken celebrates its 7-1 win over South Kingstown and the state title on Saturday afternoon.

Crain delivered a complete game on the mound and his offense produced a pair of rallies that made the difference. The Hawks routed South Kingstown 7-1 to finish a Division I sweep in this best-of-3 title round at Pontarelli Field.

More: Here’s how Hendricken baseball moved to top South Kingstown in Game 1 of the state title series

“I feel like I needed it,” Crain said. “I feel like I’m complete. Three years without it, a few heartbreakers – it’s just great to come out of here with a win.

Ryan Thompson and Braeden Campbell each delivered key two-run singles as Bishop Hendricken captured its 23rd championship in program history. The past few seasons have been challenging by those lofty standards: a semifinal loss to eventual winner Cumberland in 2023, a finals series loss to North Kingstown in 2022 and just one other appearance on this stage since he played five games between 2012 and 2016. won successive crowns. The Hawks buried those demons by winning all 23 regular-season games, including a walk-off victory on a Crain double in Game 1.

“Last year, and the year before that, we struggled,” Thompson said. “This year we wanted to do our utmost: beat everyone. I think we have left our mark and made a statement.”

It was another early struggle, much like the 4-3 win on Wednesday, as Bishop Hendricken managed just one hit before breaking through in the top of the fifth inning. Singles by Christian Butera and Cooper Maher provided the spark and Crain’s fielder’s choice forced a 1-1 tie. Thompson followed one batter later with a hot grounder through the left side.

“It was a 3-2 count — a fastball right there,” Thompson said. “I just had my timing on that and tried to hit it hard and make something happen.”

Ryan Thompson scores a point for BH.Ryan Thompson scores a point for BH.

Ryan Thompson scores a point for BH.

The Hawks (23-0) salted it away by sending eight men to the plate in the top of the seventh inning. Rebels starter Jonah Monnes was lifted after a 6⅓-inning battle and Campbell served a liner to right-center against Brayden Rosen, making it a 5-1 game. Frank Tillinghast’s sacrifice fly to left and Cole Camara’s single up the middle gave Crain some extra assurance with only three outs to go.

“Those insurance runs are what we needed,” Campbell said. “We did a great job and then we just sent Griffin out there, and he held them.”

Hendricken starting pitcher celebrates after striking out South Kingstown's Jordan Chaloux (12) hitter en route to Saturday's state championship victory at RIC.Hendricken starting pitcher celebrates after striking out South Kingstown's Jordan Chaloux (12) hitter en route to Saturday's state championship victory at RIC.

Hendricken starting pitcher celebrates after striking out South Kingstown’s Jordan Chaloux (12) hitter en route to Saturday’s state championship victory at RIC.

South Kingstown (18-6) jumped out to the lead in the bottom of the first and led as it did for most of the opener. Patrick Ruhle’s RBI single down the line in lefty Monnes, but Crain proved much stronger from there while working at a fast pace. Ryan Fuscaldo was the only leadoff man to reach base against the southpaw thanks to his double to deep left in the bottom of the fourth, and the Rebels scored just three baserunners in the final six innings.

“That’s his thing: pace,” Campbell said. ‘He gets into their heads. He owns the record.”

Monnes is among South Kingstown’s standouts returning next season. Nolan Urian is also expected back – the right-hander missed both matches in this series after suffering a concussion in a Pod 2 match against La Salle. Crain is part of a decorated senior class that will leave Bishop Hendricken, and they will do so again at the top.

“It’s all about the team,” Crain said. “These guys got together from the beginning of the year in March. We built relationships along the way.”

Bishop Hendricken 000 030 4 — 7 6 1

South Kingstown 100 000 0 — 1 5 0

Griffin Crain and Jack DePalma. Jonah Monnes, Brayden Rosen (7) and Jordan Chaloux.

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On X: @BillKoch25

This article originally appeared in The Providence Journal: Hendricken defeats South Kingstown for state baseball crown

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