Just two games into the District 3 tournament, the Warwick West Side 12-year-old softball team has shown that it has the ability to be successful no matter how the games go.
In its first game, on Sunday, West Side battled back from a 7-5 sixth inning deficit to knock off East Greenwich 11-9 in a slugfest.
Then, on Tuesday, West Side got a dominant complete game effort from Gabby Scalzo on the mound and some timely hitting to knock off Narragansett 5-2 in a pitcher’s duel.
It’s a small sample size, but so far it’s been a pretty exciting sample.
“We have a lot of talent on this team,” West Side manager Billy King said. “Me and the other coaches, we look at our talent and we can put a lot of girls in a lot of different positions because they’re all so skilled. We’re just happy they’re playing to their potential.”
The two victories have put West Side one win away from the district title and a spot in the state tournament.
The team’s next game is Friday night at home against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Narragansett and Westerly.
West Side’s opponent would have to beat West Side twice, while West Side would need only one win to capture the title.
“The girls are very excited,” King said. “They played really well on Tuesday. They were rally proud of the way they played, because they played excellent. Now we’re one game away from winning our district and going to states.”
Against East Greenwich on Sunday, West Side sent Katrina Kazen to the mound, and she ended up going the distance while striking out 10 batters.
The offense gave her some support early, as the team jumped up 5-0 before giving up the next seven runs.
Undeterred, though, West Side batted around in the sixth inning to recapture the lead. It scored six runs, went up 11-7, and Kazen and the defense took care of the rest.
Selin Ciesielski had two hits and two runs in the game to pace the offense, while Ashley Ferreira and Kristiana Altieri each scored two runs as well.
“We batted around the order, and all the girls just did a great job,” King said.
In Tuesday’s game against Narragansett, Scalzo was dominant right from the start. She didn’t allow a run through the first five innings, and she gave up only two hits on the day while striking out eight.
Defensively, catcher Olivia King shined, as she halted multiple Narragansett rallies with her throws around the diamond.
“She threw out three baserunners, which was huge for us,” Billy King said.
Offensively, West Side was patient, choosing to work the count and take their walks through the first four innings.
That led to a 2-0 lead, but the team really seized control in the fourth. With two runners on, first baseman Karly Evans smashed a double, plating both girls to give her team a 4-0 advantage.
“That was the big hit for the game,” King said. “It gave us a little bit more breathing room.”
From there, the defense remained solid, and West Side moved even closer to advancing.
It’s been a team effort thus far.
Olivia King has been strong behind the plate, while Evans at first, shortstop Jeriann Evans and Ciesielski, the third baseman, have all been solid on the infield. When Kazen pitched in the first game, Scalzo played second base, and the two simply switched for game two. They’ve also played solid defense to go along with their pitching.
In the outfield, Ferreira, Altieri and Taryn Stringfellow have handled most of the duties. West Side has also had contributions from Emma Hlavacek, Kara Quinn and Hope Frye.
“We’re getting really good pitching right now, and we’re getting really good defense too,” King said.
And the hope is that it all continues on an upward trend.
If West Side were to advance out of districts, it would have a more difficult road ahead at the state tournament. But, if two games have shown anything, it’s that there is reason for confidence.
“They’re just getting better,” King said. “The more we play the better we get. We played much better in the second game than in the first game.”