The Warwick Continental American 8-10 Year old state champs, who are representing Rhode Island in the New England Regional, dominated Maine 7-3 on Monday evening, opening tournament with its second straight win at Michael P. Varrato Field in the John H. Chafee Athletic & Recreation Complex.
Rhode Island starting pitcher Nick Stevens started the game off strong striking out five batters over two strong innings before running into trouble in the third.
“Nick’s really been a catalyst for us pitching,” Rhode Island manager Jamie Luisi said. “Mason’s our big ace, but Nick’s right there. He’s our No. 2 and he’s been pitching really well and I want people to recognize him because he’s been doing a great job pitching for our team here.”
Rhode Island’s Charlie Brown, the first batter of the game, crushed a double to deep center that out of reach of the center fielder. Two batters later, Mason Broomfield hit an RBI single through the middle and scored Brown, giving Rhode Island a 1-0 lead. Next, catcher Michael Blair rocketed a shot to right field where the right fielder lost it in the air, allowing Broomfield to come home, making it 2-0.
Gabe Politelli and Tiernan Leahy lead off the second with back-to-back singles before moving into scoring position on a passed ball. Then, Jeremiah Murphy ripped a shot at the second baseman, who dropped it and allowed Politelli to score, upping Rhode Island’s advantage to 3-0. Next, Tiernan Leahy and Murphy scored on two passed balls and ballooned the Rhode Island to 5-0.
However, in the bottom of the third, Maine cut the deficit to two.
With one out, Parker Reny walloped a double to right and scored Caiden Johnson, pulling Maine within 5-1. Next, with two outs, Ben Morin hit an RBI double up the middle to score Hudson Iacuessa and then Reny came home on the throw into second, cutting it to 5-3. But with runners at second and third, Ethan Luisi, who came on in relief, struck out Alex Horton to end the inning.
In the fourth, Rhode Island got some insurance when with two outs and runners at second and third, Luisi rocketed a shot at the Horton, the shortstop, who threw wide of first base and that let both Leahy and Brayden Fagundes score, putting Rhode Island up 7-3.
Blair closed the game out in the bottom of the sixth where he struck out the side in impressive fashion.
“That’s what Mike Blair’s been doing,” Jamie Luisi said. “He’s been chipping in catching, playing left field and pitching. He’s been doing a little of everything. And that’s what we need on this team.”
“These kids have been putting up some runs and their pitching has been great,” Luisi added. “You’ve seen Nick, we held him to fifty (pitches), we’re trying to save him. We put Ethan out there, who threw 35, save him for one day rest and then we bring in Mike Blair to close the game, so it all worked out.”
Rhode Island plays its next game on Wednesday at 7:30 at Chafee Complex against Connecticut.
Rhode Island its first game on Sunday night against Vermont 12-0 in four innings. In that contest, Broomfield was lights out giving up just one hit and then Ethan Luisi came on to close it out in the fourth with one strikeout.