BURRILLVILLE — Here’s a case of deja vu that North Smithfield likes and Burrillville loathes.
For the second time this season, Northmen sophomore ace pitcher Karissa Carlton had her way with the host Broncos’ lineup and her teammates did just enough offensively off Broncos junior ace Cassidy Tedeschi to squeak out a 1-0 victory.
Carlton struck out a season-high 16 batters and walked just one en route to a magnificent two-hitter that helped the Northmen improve to 9-2, and for the moment, hold a half-game lead over Woonsocket (9-3) in the airtight Division II-North standings.
And the schedule only promises to get tougher for the Northmen, who with Monday afternoon’s contest, kicked off a six-game-in-eight-days stretch that includes games at home against North Providence (8-4) today and Ponaganset (8-5) on Thursday and a showdown next Monday at home against the Villa Novans.
“The whole North division is really tough,” added N.S. coach Tom Bourgeois. “There’s some really good pitching and defense throughout our division. We have our work cut out for the rest of the year.”
The Northmen certainly had their work cut out for themselves against a Broncos team that saw its record dip back to .500 (6-6), but came into this game determined to turn the tables on N.S. after the Northmen pinned a 1-0 loss on them back on April 6.
In that duel, both pitchers ended up with a splendid one-hitter, but Carlton, who struck out 11 batters and walked three, ended up with the ‘W’ and Tedeschi, who fanned 13 and issued four walks, suffered the tough-luck loss.
While Tedeschi put up better numbers in that game, Carlton produced a much better pitching line in Monday’s rematch. Carlton also struck out the side in the first and fourth innings, allowed just two batted balls to reach the outfield, and retired the last 14 batters she faced, fanning nine of them,
Tedeschi, meanwhile, ended up with a solid four-hitter that included seven strikeouts, but six walks, and it was a brief struggle with her control in the top of the first inning that helped result in the Northmen’s run.
With one out, the Northmen loaded the bases on a walk to Jess Tremblay, a ground single to left field by Megan Brodeur (who went 3-for-4), and another walk to Tara Larson. Tedeschi came back with a strikeout, but then walked Angela Pasquariello to force home Tremblay.
The Northmen had two other chances to add to their lead. They had runners on second and third with one out in the third inning, as well as the bases loaded with one gone in the fifth, but Tedeschi was able to squirm off the hook on both occasions.
The Broncos’ best chance to break on the board came in their half of the third when they put runners on first and second with one out, but a strikeout and an infield pop ended that threat and started Carlton’s string of consecutive outs.
“The first time we played them was a tough game, and today’s game was the same thing,” said Bourgeois. “Both teams played excellent.”
The Broncos are also back in action today and will take a short bus ride to Cold Spring Park to take on the Villa Novans at 3:45 p.m.