The Warwick Vets Junior High Hurricanes baseball squad cruised past the Immaculate Conception Saints 11-2 at home on Monday afternoon.
Vets was led by eighth grader Dylan Cunetta, who went 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, and four runs batted in, and Sean Gallagher, also an eighth grader, who pitched six innings, striking out five while giving up two runs on three hits. On offense, Gallagher hit a single, an RBI double and walked twice.
“The whole team came to play,” Vets head coach Sean Rainey said. “Sean looked really good on the mound. He has the tools, he just needs to come every day. He got on top of hitters and he pitched very well.”
The ‘Canes have won their last two games convincingly, after losing to Western Hills on May 10. Vets beat Bain Middle School 17-0 last Thursday prior to winning this one handily.
“We’ve now won two in a row again,” Rainey said. “So we’ll keep it going. Hopefully the kids will keep practicing hard and playing hard. They have a goal to reach.”
On the other side, the Saints were led by Colby Kuzman, who pitched 3 1/3 innings and struck out three. On offense, Kuzman hit a triple, an RBI single and added a run.
“Colby’s one of our go-to guys,” Saints coach Alex Lefebvre said. “He’s been on the team a couple of years now. So, we really look to him to get things going. And he’s been working really hard. He was in a little slump at the start of the year, but he’s coming around now and it’s a great bat to have at the top of the order. I’m proud of how he bounced back and was a leader for us today.”
The Saints struck first in the top of the first when Kuzman blasted a shot to deep right-center field for a triple and then scored on a passed ball.
In the bottom of the first, Vets put up a six spot. Gallagher lifted an RBI double to left and tied the game at 1. Next, with runners at second and third, Cunetta drove in Gallagher with an infield hit to short to give Vets a 2-1 edge. Then, Warwick executed a double steal and Cam Nadeau scored which put the ‘Canes up 3-1. Cunetta scored from third on the next play after escaping a pickle and extended Warwick’s advantage to 4-1. Robert Vale later hit a two-out triple before scoring on a double-steal, which put the ‘Canes up 5-1. Catcher Colby Barker would cap the spurt with an RBI single to drive in DJ Solitto and helped Vets to a 6-1 cushion.
Immaculate Conception inched closer in the top of the third when Kuzman hit a single to drive in Owen Smith and pulled his team within four runs at 6-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, Vets added to its lead. With the bases loaded, Nadeau ripped an RBI single to center and put the ‘Canes up 7-2. Next, Cunetta belted a two-run double to left and increased Warwick’s edge to 9-2.
Vets tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs and Gallagher at second, Nadeau hit a routine ground ball at the second baseman Steve Melani, but Melani’s throw to first zipped off the glove of the first baseman allowing Gallagher to score while extending the ‘Canes lead to 10-2. Lastly, Cunetta rocketed a shot at the shortstop, which scored Nadeau from third and gave Vets an 11-2 advantage.
With the loss, Immaculate Conception falls to 4-4 and currently sits in fifth place.
“If we want to make a deep run, we’ve got to win a few of these games coming up to get us in the playoffs,” Lefebvre said. “I definitely know that we have the team that can do it. So, I’m looking forward to see how they can bounce back after losing three out of the last four.”
With the win, Vets improves to 8-1 and sits in second place.
The Saints play next at Deering Middle School on Thursday before Vets hosts Deering on Friday.