The New England Frozen Lemonade/Shields 43 senior legion baseball team topped Auburn Post 20/Gershkoff Auto junior club 3-1 last week at Cranston Stadium.
NEFL played a clean game on the diamond, allowing just one run on three hits and committing no errors. Pitcher Riley Beard got the win on the hill, going five innings and allowing just one hit and striking out two batters.
“I feel good about our pitching, I feel real good about our defense. We play good defense, we pitch and we run the bases well. We could hit better though, we need to put some work together. We got five solid innings of pitching from Beard and (Jared) Reminder shut the door. Pitching and defense wins games. The hits will come,” said NEFL coach Michael Fratus after the win.
NEFL got on the board in the second inning, getting back-to-back RBI singles from Evan O’Connor and Max Prescott to take a 2-0 lead.
The two clubs cruised all the way until the seventh inning. NEFL added an insurance run in the top half of the inning on an RBI single from AJ Amedeo to take the 3-0 lead.
Gershkoff’s bats came alive in the bottom half, getting two hits and driving in a run on a double from Jorge Ramos. However, NEFL escaped the inning and earned the 3-1 decision.
“I think that we competed at a senior legion level, but we’re a junior legion team. We’re a young junior legion team but we showed (NEFL) that we can compete. I thought it was a good game, it was really clean, we hit the ball but we hit it right to them. I’m very proud of the kids and we’re just beginning to grow. This is great experience,” said Gershkoff coach Dave Rathbun, who was also pleased with his team’s fight in the final inning. “That shows a lot about a young team, it shows that they have some fight. It’s never over until the seventh inning. They showed a lot about themselves.”
Gershkoff pitcher Evan Smith went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. NEFL’s Reminder tossed two innings of relief and struck out four batters.
Despite the win, Fratus hopes to see his team generate more offense as the summer wears on.
“They kept us off balance with runners on base. We didn’t come through on opportunities. We would get one hit here, one hit there, but we left runners on second base three or four times,” said Fratus. “When things get rolling in the middle of the season we have to take advantage of that because the other team might. We hit the ball hard but we need to work on getting the timely hits and moving runners over.”
Fratus has been happy with his team’s progress in the early going and hopes to see it continue to improve while enjoying its time on the field.
“It’s nice to get off to a good start. We try to stay loose and have some fun. Baseball is long, it’s a long season, a long game, you have to stay loose and you have to have fun,” said Fratus. “If you have fun and do the right things then you’ll pull wins out. The kids want to be here, I have an ample amount of tools to use on the bench and that’s how you win games.”