Johnston's 13- to 14-year-old All Star team secured third place in the United States pool of the Junior Little League Series following the Aug. 18 victory by Tucson, AZ, over North Canton, OH.
Today, we take a look back at the two-time Rhode Island state championship team's remarkable — and historic — run to the World Series, which started less than a month ago at Johnston Memorial Park.
Johnston is the first Rhode Island team ever to reach the Junior World Series in the 31-year history of the tournament.
State Championship: Johnston Breezes To Title
Returning to the Rhode Island Junior Little League State Tournament for the second year in a row, and serving as host for this year's event, Johnston swept into the regional tournament with decisive victories over its Rhode Island opponents.
Beginning with back-to-back wins on July 23 against East Greenwich and July 24 against Glocester, the local team earned a couple of days' rest and practice before facing EG again on July 29 to decide the title.
Johnston racked up three runs in the first inning and five more in the second on the way to a 14-4 mercy-rule win over East Greenwich in the final.
Regional Championship: Local Squad Battles Back
Johnston had a week between its state title win and the start of the Junior Little League Regional Tournament in Freehold Township, NJ, on Aug. 6.
The team didn't seem to take on any rust though, as it defeated Davidson, MD, 12-2, in its first Regional contest on Aug. 6.
Two days later, Johnston suffered its first defeat in four games to Pennridge, PA, 11-7. The loss left the Johnston crew needing to play its way out of the consolation bracket — which it did, tallying a 14-7 victory over Burlington, CT, on Aug. 9; and two wins on Aug. 10 — 11-8 over Quincy, MA, and 8-5 over Brandywine, DE.
Johnston then faced Pennridge again on August 11, needing two wins to secure the regional championship.
After Gian Martellini's walk-off two-run homer secured a 14-13 win in the early game on August 11, Johnston's offense exploded for 10 runs in the top of the first inning of the afternoon contest on the way to an 18-7 victory over Pennridge to earn a trip to the Junior League World Series.
It was also the team's second 10-run-rule finish to a game that decided a championship title.
Jr. LL World Series: Johnston Finishes With .500 Record
Just three days after the Eastern Regional win in New Jersey, the local squad kicked off the Junior World Series with a 5-2 win over North Canton, OH, on Aug. 14.
Johnston then ran into a tough Tampa, FL, team on August 15, and lost 13-3, in a game decided by the 10-run rule after the sixth inning. Tampa would eventually win the United States pool and earn a spot in the semifinals.
The next day, Johnston fell, 9-2, to eventual division runner-up Tucson, AZ, before bouncing back for a 3-1 win over Rosenberg, TX, on August 17.
Johnston is scheduled to play an as-yet undecided team from the International pool in a non-tournament game this weekend, before returning to Rhode Island early next week.