American eliminates Woonsocket
CALL gets another shot at Lincoln in district final
WOONSOCKET — The Woonsocket Major Division all-star team finally got to experience a District 4 tournament night game at Lajoie Field Wednesday.
Woonsocket played its first three tournament games on the road because the left-field grass was burnt following a fireworks incident last month that made the field unplayable. Thanks to the hard work of Woonsocket Department of Parks & Recreation Department, the field was available for Wednesday’s losers’ bracket final against reigning state champion Cumberland American.
“I was very excited about playing a game here,” Woonsocket coach Michael Cinquantini said. “The kids were pretty pumped for that, maybe they were a little too excited.”
That was about the only good news for Woonsocket because Cumberland American made sure it would make a third consecutive trip to the District 4 final to face Lincoln. Lefty starter Anthony Martin III and ace righty Jack LaRose combined to throw a one-hitter, while CALL received two hits and three runs scored from outfielder Andy Ray and a fourth home run in as many games from LaRose to secure a 10-0 mercy-rule win in five innings.
“The kids played great, this was probably the best game we’ve played all districts,” Cumberland American coach Anthony Martin said. “It was a complete game. We hit the ball, we played great defense and our pitching was very good. [Martin III] mixed it up and threw multiple pitches to keep kids off-balance. He also throws his pitches for strikes.”
The good news for CALL is that they will go into tomorrow night’s 7 o’clock final at Smithfield’s Whipple Field with every pitcher available. Martin pitched into the third inning and LaRose didn’t allow any hits in his outing. Because CALL needs to beat Lincoln twice to retain the title, Martin didn’t indicate if he would start his ace Saturday or save LaRose for Sunday.
In the teams’ first meeting at Hien Field earlier in the month, LaRose allowed three runs on six hits in a 3-2 defeat, but none of those hits came after the third inning. Lincoln, which has only played two games, will throw either Ryan Thompson or Donavon Lopez tomorrow. The two combined to beat CALL.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge and it should be a fun weekend,” Martin said. “We have to play perfect baseball because they’re a good team. No matter who [Lincoln] pitches, we have to hit the ball because both of those kids are great pitchers. We have to bring the bats and make sure we’re playing defense.
“The kids love this. They fought all the way back after losing the second game in districts and coming all the way back to the championship game. It’s a good accomplishment, but I think they want more.”
Martin III, who has been the winning pitcher in three District 4 games, set down KJ Lopez, Shayne Godin and Mariano Lopez in the first before Godin allowed a Ray double in the last of the first. Ray, who along with LaRose is the only player back from last summer’s Bristol squad, scored on a passed ball.
Woonsocket had the game-tying run on second in the second inning after Connor Thibault walked with one out and Isaiah Figueroa singled with two outs, but Michael Cinquantini Jr. grounded out to end the threat.
“We were hitting the ball early in the game, but we kept hitting the ball right to kids,” Cinquantini said. “They caught us off-balance with the off-speed stuff, but the kids weren’t ready for it. We prepared the kids from something a little bit faster. Their pitcher threw strikes.”
Martin moved LaRose to the top of the order to maximize his at-bats and the move paid off with a home run to start the third inning. Ray followed with a double and scored on a double by Diego Benitez. Benitez, Martin III (walk) and catcher Luke Plumer (walk) all scored later in the inning. Benitez doubled in the next inning and scored on an error. Martin also scored to put CALL up seven.
Andrew Nocera, LaRose and Ray scored in the fifth inning to end the contest an inning early.
While CALL is on its way to its third straight District 4 final, Woonsocket (2-2) came up a win short of reaching its first District 4 final in 15 years.
“I’m extremely proud of these boys, they worked their tails off,” Cinquantini said. “They worked very hard. I’ve had some of these kids since tee-ball, and they’ve grown into respected kids. They were upset, obviously, but they stayed in the game. They gave it all they could. I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Shayne Godin and the Woonsocket Little League Major Division all-star team suffered a 10-0 loss to Cumberland American Wednesday.
Cumberland American Major Division all-star Anthony Marting improved his record to 3-0 with Wednesday’s 10-0 win over Woonsocket. CALL will face Lincoln in tomorrow’s District 4 final.