The Warwick Vets softball team picked up its first win of the season on April 24, a 14-13 triumph over Mount St. Charles.
It’s been difficult to build on.
Immediately after the victory, Vets entered the toughest portion of its schedule, with five straight games against teams in the top third of the Division I standings. The ’Canes lost the first three to Cumberland, Chariho and Cranston West and saw the streak hit four on Thursday with an 11-0 loss to East Providence. With undefeated Lincoln set to come to town Monday, it wasn’t about to get easier.
“We’re in the middle of a tough stretch,” Vets head coach Paul Kennedy said after Thursday’s loss. “Every team in this five-game stretch is in the top six in the league. It doesn’t get any easier with Lincoln on Monday. We’ll see what we can do. We can’t feel bad because it’s going to get tougher”
The good news for the ’Canes is that they should soon have some opportunities to get back on their feet against more comparable teams.
But lately, it’s just been about weathering the storm, and that proved difficult on Thursday against East Providence. The Townies came in with a 7-2 record and wasted no time flexing their muscles. They opened the game with four straight singles off Vets pitcher Kayla Bourbon and added five more hits before the inning was over. In all, they sent 11 batters to the plate while staking themselves to a 6-0 lead.
“That’s been happening a little bit lately,” Kennedy said. “They didn’t crush Kayla in that inning, but they put balls in the right spots. Right now, we’re not catching any breaks. Good teams make breaks so maybe we’ve got to work harder for them. That’s just how it’s going right now.”
Brianna Allienello started it with an infield hit, and Lauren Discuillo hit a low line drive that just got under the glove of Vets shortstop Liz Iadevaia. The Townies then delivered a parade of RBI singles, with Lindsee Allienello, Michaela Kelly, Amy DeCastro, Alexandra Wilson and Casey Traverse all coming up with one.
Before they knew it, the ’Canes were in a deep hole. A tough challenge looked even tougher.
“We faced a good team and they jumped out to a big lead like a good team is supposed to,” Kennedy said.
Vets couldn’t get its own offense into gear. Amanda Graves singled with one out in the first but was doubled off when Iadevaia lined out. Discuillo, East Providence’s starter, then worked a scoreless second with two strikeouts and pitched around a single by Gabby Korlacki to strike out the side in the third.
In the meantime, the Townies added to their lead, getting a run in the second, two in the third, one in the fourth and one in the fifth.
With the mercy rule in play, the ’Canes got the leadoff batter on in the fifth against Kelly, who came on in relief for the Townies, but there was no rally. Kelly struck out Arietta Chevian and got Kelsey Houle to ground out. Korlacki followed with a hard ground ball back up the middle that Kelly bobbled, but she regained composure in time to throw to first for the final out.
That was the end of the road for the ’Canes, who fell to 1-8. Once they get past Lincoln, they’ll turn their attention to key games against Woonsocket and Barrington, who also have just one win each.
“After this, we play four games that are all winnable games,” Kennedy said. “I’m not saying we’re a great team, but these are teams we can compete with when we play our best. Right now, that’s what we’re trying to do – work on the things that can make us better.”
Sixteen of the 17 teams in Division I will qualify for the playoffs, meaning the ’Canes are still very much in the mix.
“We want to make the playoffs,” Kennedy said. “That keeps our season alive because we do still have a chance.”