WOONSOCKET â€” Woonsocket found the perfect way to top Thursday afternoonâ€™s big victory over the Prout School -- by coming back the very next day to soundly beat a Division II-North rival on the road.
The Villa Novans broke open a tight game by rallying for four runs in the top of the fifth inning and rode the splendid five-hit pitching of freshman ace Amanda Nunez the rest of the way to a windswept 9-2 victory over Burrillville.
The victory was the third in four days for the Novans, who end the first half of their schedule with a 6-2 record that puts them a half game behind first-place North Smithfield (6-1) in the standings.
â€śThe girls had a great week,â€ť added Woonsocket coach Dan Belisle, whose club was riding high from its 7-5 triumph over the Division II-South leading Crusaders (6-2) 24 hours earlier. â€śThey were focused and they played good defense and got their bunts down. This was a very good week, and weâ€™ll see if we can carry it over into the rest of the season.â€ť
The Novans, who were 1-15 last year in their return to the Division II ranks (following five years in Division I and a championship season in Division III in 2010), have been the most improved team in the division this season, and Belisle rattled off a few of the reasons behind the dramatic turnaround.
â€śOur freshmen are playing well, our pitchers are throwing strikes, and our captains are going a great job,â€ť remarked Belisle. â€śWe have a good mix of seniors and freshmen and only two juniors and one sophomore playing regular ball, and theyâ€™ve played very well.â€ť
While the Novans were coming off a big victory, so were the Broncos, who on Thursday, clobbered Rogers, 17-0, behind their 16-hit attack, some errorless defense, and a five-inning no-hitter by junior ace pitcher Cassidy Tedeschi.
But the Broncos (4-4) were unable to carry their momentum into Fridayâ€™s contest. Not only were they held in check for most of the afternoon by Nunez, who only struck out one batter, but induced a dozen groundball outs, but they committed six errors.
The Novans scored their first run in the opening swings when Caitlin Marcoux led off with a single and soon scored on a long double to left field by Kelsey Boucher, and it remained a one-run game until the visitors went to work in the fourth.
Nunez led off with a single and Allyson Cartier followed by getting hit in the foot with a pitch from Tedeschi, who came back to record the next two outs before walking Tayla Sevigny to load the bases.
That brought No. 9 batter Varsana Schobel to the plate, and she promptly singled up the middle to drive home two runs. Caitlin Marcoux then followed a sharp run-scoring double to left, and the Novans found themselves with a 4-0 lead.
A few pitches later to the next batter, Taylor Pawlina, Tedeschi uncorked a wild pitch to the backstop that allowed Schobel to race home with a run. When the late throw to the plate by catcher Tori Libby sailed past Tedeschi and into the middle of the infield, Marcoux hustled to the plate and slid home with another run.
The Broncos finally got on the board in the fourth on a run-scoring double down the right-field line by Teigan Palazini, but the Novans answered back two innings later with three runs, the first scoring on a single to center by Pawlina and the other two coming home with the help of four errors.