NORTH PROVIDENCE — At such an early hour, it seemed like many of the players were sleepwalking during Saturday morning’s game between Upper Deck Post 86/14 and the North Providence Post 29 Senators at North Providence High.
Between Post 86/14 and the Post 29 Senators, the two teams combined for 11 walks and four errors in the field. However, despite the sloppy play, one team came away the winner, and it was the Senators who cruised to their second consecutive victory over Post 86/14 in convincing fashion, 7-2.
Despite solid performance from pitcher Justin Conti, one bad inning determined Post 86/14’s fate. After surrendering five runs in the fifth inning to the Senators, who are now 4-4, Post 86/14 could simply just never recover and strike back offensively.
Senators shortstop and current Lincoln High graduate Nick Zammarelli was phenomenal from the plate, going a perfect 4-4 with four singles, and pitcher Jian Pacheco had a great day from the hill, striking out five batters through as many innings.
Going cold from the plate wasn’t the only factor in Post 86/14’s loss on Saturday. Head coach Steve Reynolds Sr. said that in order for his team to win, errors and walks can’t be a part of their gameplan.
“You can’t have these mental mistakes and expect to win games,” Reynolds said following the defeat, which dropped his team’s record to 2-1. “We can’t give teams easy runs like that.”
These mistakes weren’t made for either team until later in the game, as they each failed to cross home plate through nearly three innings of baseball.
However, in the bottom of the third, the Senators loaded the bases on two walks by Conti and a single to Zammarelli. A critical error in the field then gave the Senators a quick 2-0 lead, and it was just the beginning of the Senators’ five-run assault in the third, which including two more runs coming home on another error.
Post 86/14 fought back in the next inning. Thanks to the Senators returning the favor with an error of their own, Upper Deck scored its two runs. But in the bottom of the fourth, the Senators’ Alex Howard drove two more runners home, and another error by Post 86/14 aided the damage.
Despite the disappointing loss, Reynolds was still proud of his team’s performance, especially with its lack of experience. Post 86/14 had four 15-year-old players in the starting lineup on Saturday. These errors may decrease the more playing time they have on the diamond, but Reynolds knows his team has to improve its hitting in order to compete.
“With our team relying on our pitching to win some of these games,” Reynolds said, “we have to put some runs on the board.”