WOONSOCKET â€” Coming off of a convincing 13-2 win over North Smithfield Wednesday afternoon to start their playoff run, the Woonsocket Villa Novans defeated the Narragansett Mariners, 4-2, to keep their playoff momentum going in the Division II Region 2 playoffs.
The Villa Novansâ€™ Kory Lawrence dominated the game from the mound. In seven innings, he gave up two runs on two hits, three walks and an struck out an incredible 14 batters. One of Lawrenceâ€™s fastballs was clocked at 93 miles per hour, and when he mixed it with his breaking ball, he left batters looking dazed and confused.
â€ś[His] effort on the mound was fantastic today,â€ť Woonsocket coach John Marsella said. â€śWeâ€™ve been riding our pitching all year and we hope to be riding it through the playoffs.
Woonsocket jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning with some help from sloppy baseball on the part of Narragansett. The Villa Novansâ€™ junior Cody L'Heureux got the inning started with a double to left field. Sophomore Randy Reyes moved him over to third with a sacrifice bunt and junior Brandon Rainville was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners.
Rainville attempted to steal second, and the catcher, rather than risk a runner scoring, threw a bad ball to second base, allowing Lâ€™Heureux to score.
Woonsocket added two more runs in the second inning. Sophomore Victor Hunt hit a bloop single to right field and stole second to put a runner in scoring position. After the next batter struck out, sophomore Jonathan Flynn hit a deep triple into left field, bringing in Hunt.
Freshman Alex Denoylle hit a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher to bring in Flynn and increase Woonsocketâ€™s lead to 3-0.
Marsella was impressed with the way his team not only advanced runners, but brought them in when they were in scoring position.
â€śItâ€™s important to score when the opportunity presents itself,â€ť Marsella said. â€śToday, we had a couple of important bunts, which really helped us out. In a close game like this, every run counts.â€ť
The Mariners would not go down without a fight, however. In the top of the third, they added a run of their own when junior Arthur Kershaw hit a single to center field to bring in sophomore teammate Nicholas Schone.
Then in the bottom of the third, the Villa Novans added their fourth and final run when the Marinersâ€™ left fielder misplayed a fly ball that brought home Woonsocketâ€™s Reyes from second base.
In the top of the sixth inning, Narragansett pushed to tie the game, but only brought in one run. The Marinersâ€™ junior Ross Hodnett hit a ball into right field that brought in teammate Kershaw.
Woonsocketâ€™s sophomore William Andino blasted a ball into deep left field in the bottom half of the sixth inning that appeared to be deep enough for an inside the park home run. But the Narragansett catcher was able to block the plate and apply the tag to keep the game at 4-2.
Senior Michael Herchen pitched for the Mariners and got the loss. In his first two innings alone, he gave up three runs four hits and a hit batter with no strikeouts. But for the rest of the game, he seemed much more in control of things.
In the final four innings, Herchen only have up one runâ€”which was the result of an errorâ€”on one hit with two strikeouts. He retired the last ten batters he faced to end the game. The damage had been done, though.
Narragansettâ€™s next game will be at home on Monday June 4 against the winner of North Smithfield and Juanita Sanchez at the Marinersâ€™ home field. Woonsocket will play the winner of that game on Tuesday June 5 in Woonsocket.