NORTH PROVIDENCE — Fresh off of a 1-0 win in the 12th inning of its playoff opener against Middletown, No. 8 seeded Cumberland continued its impressive playoff run with a 6-2 upset win over No. 1 seeded North Providence on Thursday afternoon.
The Cougars had won the previous two meetings between these two teams -- 4-2 at home and 6-2 at Cumberland -- but the Clippers got the win when it mattered most, in the playoffs.
The Clippers looked like they would be first to strike. In the top of the second inning, the Cougars got two quick outs, but Cumberland loaded the bases. With the bases loaded, Cumberland’s senior Ryan Harris grounded out to first, stranding three runners.
After little offensive production in the game’s first few innings, North Providence was first to strike in the bottom of the fifth inning for a pair of runs off Cumberland pitcher Dylan Boisclair.
But the Clippers were not intimidated by the higher seed and played themselves back into the game.
Cumberland senior Christian Spader reached first base on a misplayed ball by the N.P. shortstop. Senior Matthew Billington singled into right field, and senior Justin Patrick reached on an infield single to load the bases for the Clippers.
Sophomore Joseph Fine capitalized on the chance at a run by hitting a deep ground ball to the N.P. second baseman, whose only play was to first, allowing a run to score.
With the bases still loaded, the next batter, junior Peter Travers, hit a fly ball to left field, allowing the runner at third base to tag up and reach home and tie the game at two runs each.
The Clippers added four more runs in the top of the seventh inning, putting the game pretty much out of reach for the Cougars.
Junior Jacob Keefe started things off with a single to center field and Harris advanced him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Junior Gregory Joubert drew a walk, putting runners on first and second, and Spader hit a single to score Cumberland’s first run of the inning.
Billington hit another single to right field to give Cumberland a 4-2 lead. After a walk and a strikeout, Travers hit a bloop single into right field that brought home two runners.
In the bottom of the inning, Boisclair walked the first batter he faced and the loud N.P. dugout seemed as though there was still plenty of life left in it. But the very next batter hit a grounder to Patrick, Cumberland’s first baseman, who wisely threw the ball to second base, allowing for a double play. The final batter of the game popped out.
Boisclair got the win for the Clippers. He pitched a complete game for Cumberland, giving up four hits and five walks, while striking out six. The most impressive part about his outing was that he was able to stay composed after a shaky fifth inning where he seemed rattled, yet came back to only face seven batters in his final two innings.
Because of the double-elimination format of the Division I playoffs, both teams are still in the running for the state championships to be held at McCoy Stadium on June 13-15.