The New England Frozen Lemonade Shields 43 baseball team iced South Kingstown Post 39 by a final score of 7-1 on Monday evening in its season opener.
2018 Toll Gate graduate Matt Martinez earned the win for NEFL, pitching a complete game and striking out eight while walking one.
“Martinez threw well,” NEFL head coach Mike Fratus said. “It was an unearned run that we gave up. We were a little lackadaisical the first couple of innings, but we squeaked a run across and then in the fifth we really broke it open with small ball.”
The NEFL offense was kick started by AJ Ucci, who had two hits and two RBI. On the other side, Will Beaudreau from Chariho had three of South Kingstown’s five hits.
Ucci got NEFL on the scoreboard first when he blasted a one-out triple to right field in the bottom of the first inning. Then with two outs and runners at the corners, NEFL executed a successful double steal and Ucci came in to score to put NEFL up 1-0.
South Kingstown evened it at 1 in the top of the fourth when Sam Craven rocketed a laser off the chest of NEFL first baseman Caden Haley, which scored James Pederson.
NEFL’s offense would go on to put up six runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Josh Coleman drew a walk and then Evan O’Connor put the ball on the ground and South Kingstown went to second for the fielder’s choice, but Coleman was too quick down the baseline and that put two runners on. Next, Max Prescott put down a bunt single and loaded the bases. Ucci then blasted a two-run single through the middle and put NEFL on top 3-1. With runners at second and third, Haley hammered a two-RBI double and extended NEFL’s advantage to 5-1. Then with two outs, Marcus Alexander hit an RBI single by the shortstop and made it 6-1. Catcher Jacob Paul then rifled a shot at South Kingstown first baseman Cole Podedworny, which resulted in an error and scored Alexander and gave NEFL a 7-1 lead.
“We used our speed to our advantage because our strength is pitching and speed,” Fratus said. “We run the bases well, we have a fast team, and we have good pitching, so we’re going to take full advantage of that.”
Fratus was happy with the batting lineup, but thought his team could use some more practice in the field.
“I think we can sharpen up the defense a little bit, but everybody contributed offensively, which was nice,” Fratus said.
NEFL plays in a tournament game next today against Cranston at Cranston Stadium at 4p.m.