Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 08-08-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Page 26 of 71

CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | AUGUST 8-14, 2019 SPORTS & RECREATION 27 ners' bracket semifinals against either the Connecticut state runner-up, Southington, or the Vermont state champion, Brattleboro. But a defeat will push Upper Deck into today's 9:30 a.m. losers' bracket contest against the loser of the Southington-Brattleboro opening-round game that took place Wednesday afternoon. In last August's double-elimination regional tournament, Upper Deck took a quick exit by losing its first two games, but Allard hopes the experi- ence from last season's tourney can benefit his ballclub this time around. "I think last year, we were just happy to be there," he said. "But this year, we want more. We want to go out to the regionals, win them, and go to Shelby. That's the goal. We want to win that tournament." Last Friday night's multiple victo- ries capped a hectic week for Post 14, which ventured down Route 295 to play five games in as many nights, with one of them, last Thursday's scheduled championship game against Post 20, lasting just two innings because a transformer blew out and wiped out the electricity at the ball- park. That game was suspended and con- tinued the following day at 5 p.m., and the starting pitchers from the previous night, Upper Deck's Jackson Walsh and Gershkoff/Auburn's Cam Harris, simply picked up where they left off and did a brilliant job. Walsh worked the first five innings to earn the win, giving up just three hits and a walk, and although he struck out only two batters, he induced nine groundball outs and allowed just five batted balls to reach the outfield grass. Two of the hits Walsh allowed came in the fourth, and the second hit, a two-out ground single to left by Max Feroce, drove in Post 20's run. Harris, meanwhile, ended up with a two-hitter that saw him strike out 10 batters, including five in a row at one point, and walk no one, but he gave up two unearned runs, including a run in the bottom of the fifth inning that broke a 1-1 tie. "He pitched really well," said McNulty. "He had a really good curveball, and all respect to him, he dealt. He really did." C.J Davock, who scored the game's first run in the second on a wild pitch, led off the inning by hustling to sec- ond on a throwing error on his soft grounder in front of the mound. He then raced to third on a passed ball, and after Braedon Carney got hit by a pitch, McNulty lofted a sacrifice fly to right that was deep enough to score Davock, who slid headfirst across the plate on a close play. Addison Kopack then pitched the final two innings and picked up a six- out save by setting down six of the seven batters he faced. While Post 14 struggled to generate hits in that victory, Upper Deck also had its problems in the early stages of its winner-take-all game, as Post 20 starter Andrew Clesas pitched three hitless innings. His teammates also staked him to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning off Upper Deck starter Corey Mayer, but in the bottom of the fourth, with Gershkoff/Auburn still clinging to its 2-0 lead, Post 14's bats came alive. Kopack led off by lacing the first pitch he saw up the middle for a base hit, and walks to Andrews and David Bordieri soon loaded the bases and marked the end of Clesas' night on the mound. He was relieved by Feroce, who instantly struck out the next batter he faced, but gave up a sacrifice fly to center by Carney that allowed Kopack to tag up and score Upper Deck's first run. "They have a great staff and some great players over there," Upper Deck manager Matt Allard said as he looked toward the Post 20 dugout. "We knew it was going to be a battle. Their pitchers did well and shut us down." "I just told them (before the bottom of the fourth inning), 'Just get one hit,'" Allard added. "Kopack led off with a hit to start the inning, and we just kind of rolled from there." Upper Deck certainly rolled in the fifth by rallying for five runs to take the lead. Szafranski, who kicked things off with a bloop single to right with one out, raced home with the tying run on a wild pitch, and Nick Croteau, who followed Szafranski with an infield hit that stopped near the third-base line, scored the go- ahead run on a passed ball. One batter later, Bordieri delivered the inning's big hit, a two-run double to deep center, and Carney lofted another sac fly to center that boosted Upper Deck's lead to 6-2. In the sixth, things went from bad to worse for Gershkoff/Auburn, which was seeking its first state title since 2011. With two outs, Kopack lined a run-scoring single to left and Andrews followed with an RBI double that hit the top of the fence in center and was inches away from leaving the yard. Bordieri also came through with another run-scoring double to center. "Our biggest thing today was to put the ball in play and get timely hits," McNulty said. The winning pitcher was Croteau, who tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings of three-hit relief, and Kopack, who walked twice and stole two bases, and Andrews reached base in all four of their plate appearances. Post 14, which will take a 27-3 over- all record into this week's regionals, began the "Final Four" playoffs last Monday, July 29, by rolling to a 14-0 win over Navigant Post 85, but the following night, Upper Deck suffered its 1-0 loss to Gershkoff/Auburn. Undaunted, Upper Deck came back the next day to take a 6-4 thriller with Collette Post 10, which held a 2-1 lead until Post 14 answered back with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning and four in the sixth. The sixth-inning rally saw Andrews snap a 2-2 tie with an infield single that drove in Shane Calabro, and after Bordieri followed with a two-run single, Davock added an RBI single. Kyle DaLuca and Mayer combined on a stellar one-hitter, with DaLuca picking up the win by pitching the first six innings, striking out seven, and allowing five walks, as well as Collette's two runs and lone hit in the top of the fourth. Mayer fanned two batters in his scoreless seventh. Offensively, Szafranski went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to lead Upper Deck's 14-hit attack. Kopack, Andrews, Bordieri, and Davock each collected two hits, Bordieri ended the game with three RBIs, and Andrews also drove in two runs. From preceding page BREEZE PHOTO BY ERIC BENEVIDES Upper Deck Post 14 runner C.J. DAVOCK, bottom left, gives the "safe" sign as he safely slides headfirst across the plate with the go-ahead run, beating the tag by Gershkoff/Auburn catcher TOM BARBIERI, in the bottom of the fifth inning of Upper Deck's 2-1 victory last Friday afternoon. S STANLEY TREE Since 1986 • Professional High Quality Service At Reasonable Rates • Licensed Arborists • Serving RI & Nearby Mass. • Our Team Of Professionals Is Fully Equipped To Handle Your Job In A Safe Efficient Manner N. 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