Gershkoff Auto Body/Auburn Post 20 held on to beat New England Frozen Lemonade/Shields Post 43 by a score of 5-3 at Rhode Island College on Monday evening.
Gershkoff head coach David Schiappa was happy with what he saw out of his team during its third game of the season.
“I felt it was a great performance because the team gelled well,” Schiappa said. “A lot of new guys on the team. A lot of new guys gelling with the older guys.”
NEFL starting pitcher Zachary D’Andrea threw six innings whiling striking out four batters and giving up five runs. The Pilgrim ace looked at the glass as half full after the loss.
“It’ll help us improve,” D’Andrea said. “We’ll work harder and get better for next time.”
D’Andrea started the game with a 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the first, Gershkoff’s John Beneduce came out blazing, as well. Beneduce struck out the first two batters that he faced. However, Evan O’Connor got an infield hit and then Dylan Palmiotti followed it with a shot into the gap in right center, scoring O’Connor all the way from first and giving NEFL an early 1-0 edge.
Gershkoff evened the score in the top of the second. With one out, Gianni Valentini hit a single. After that, Cam Harris blasted a double to center, scoring Valentini and tying the game at 1.
With two down and two runners in scoring position during the top of the third, Gershkoff’s Emilio Rodriguez put a double off the wall in left, scoring both runners and gave Gershkoff a 3-1 advantage. Next, Valentini laced an RBI triple down the first base line, extending Gershkoff’s lead to 4-1.
NEFL’s David Defusco led off the bottom of the inning with a single to center. The Toll Gate grad would steal both second and third base shortly after. With two outs, Palmiotti drove him in with an RBI single to right, pulling NEFL within 4-2.
With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Gershkoff added some insurance when Max Pierce hit an RBI single past the first baseman, increasing its lead to 5-2.
A.J. Ucci knocked in a run in the bottom of the inning to pull NEFL closer at 5-3.
In the top of the seventh, NEFL brought in Defusco to pitch in relief. He struggled to start, walking the first two batters before Mitch Carvalho loaded the bases with a successful bunt. However, Defusco and company worked their way out of the jam, getting Rodriguez to pop up, Valentini to strike out and Harris to ground out to get out of the inning unscathed.
Palmiotti worked a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh. With two down, Zach Odsen struck out, but reached base after the pitch sailed into the dirt, keeping NEFL alive. With runners at the corners, it looked like Josh Coleman would tie it when he blasted a shot to center, however, Carvalho, the Gershkoff center fielder, laid out and made a spectacular catch to preserve the win.
“He made a tremendous play at the end of the game,” Schiappa added.
Carvalho plays left field for Curry College in Massachusetts during the school year.
NEFL’s Coleman and Palmiotti took some positives out of the game.
“I think we played good,” Coleman said. “It was just that we didn’t score enough runs and couldn’t get the job done in certain situations, but I think all around it was a good day.”
“We played well overall,” Palmiotti added. “Zach did well on the mound and kept us in it, so we just got to work a little harder and I think we win that game.”