Warwick PAL edged out the Cranston Bulldogs, 2-0, at Mickey Stevens on Wednesday evening. Both runs were scored on passed balls. PAL’s Derek Lallo stifled hitters while pitching a complete-game shutout, finishing with four strikeouts while giving up just three hits and three walks.
“Derek is one of our better pitchers,” PAL manager Mike Martin said. “That’s how we win games. When we’re pitching, defense. We can score runs, but some of the teams that we play don’t give up many. We’ve won a lot of close games. We’ve got some real good pitching and that’s what’s going to carry us in the playoffs.”
Griffin Mason started on the hill for Cranston and pitched two and 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
The first run of the game came in the bottom of the third with Warwick PAL at the dish. Dylan Bracken, a Pilgrim senior this fall, led off the inning with a single. Bracken stole second before Lallo grounded out, moving the runner over to third. After that, Mason walked Mike Hampson. So, Cranston manager David Ciolfi went to his bullpen and brought in his standout reliever Anthony Melise to finish the job. With the runners at the corners, Hampson stole second, and when Cranston catcher Caleb Joubert threw over to try and catch him, he threw short of the bag and it rolled by the second baseman, leading to Bracken trotting home from third on the miscue and giving PAL the 1-0 lead.
The second PAL run came in during the bottom of the fifth. The first pitch Melise delivered to Damon Coleman was launched to left field for a single. Next, a sacrifice bunt from Andrew Merryfield moved Coleman all the way to third. Coleman came home on a passed ball at the plate moments later and gave PAL the 2-0 edge.
Cranston had a chance in the top of the sixth after Martin Goldberg started the inning with a leadoff walk. And with one out, Daniel Estman hit a single past the third baseman. Next, Jake Palazzo hit a comebacker at the pitcher, who threw to third and caught the lead runner. With two down, Cranston pulled a double steal and put both runners in scoring position. Nonetheless, Lallo was able to induce a fly ball from Cranston East’s Justin Neary to end the ball game.
There were a total of eight hits in the contest.
“It was good pitching,” Ciolfi, the Bulldogs’ manager, said. “When you’re in a game like this, you’ve got to execute. There were two passed balls that cost us, but on the other hand, two runs shouldn’t beat you. That’s the way it’s been all year with Connie Mack. Every game is a battle with pitching dominating, and this was one of those games.”
“We just didn’t get the right hits at the right time,” Ciolfi added. “It’s not only hitting, it’s timely hitting in these types of games. In that sixth inning, we didn’t get the timely hitting, even though we had the right guys we wanted up.”