Woonsocket Call

Novans outlast Tigers

Woonsocket youngsters lead way in win over Tigers

- By BRANDEN MELLO bmello@woonsocket­call.com

Woonsocket edges Tolman in backand-forth battle

PAWTUCKET — As precocious freshmen, Woonsocket’s Abbie Roderick, Maddy Hereth and Holly Letourneau played a big part in the Villa Novans’ march to a memorable Division II championsh­ip.

As sophomores, the trio spent the first month of the season acclimatiz­ing to life in the state’s top division.

After the Novans went 0-forApril, it appears they’re starting to figure out they belong amongst the state’s elite.

Woonsocket started the week with an ugly road win over winless Toll Gate before pushing reigning state finalist La Salle to the brink Wednesday afternoon. Thursday, the sophomores combined to go 7-for-12 with a triple and a home run, along with five runs scored and three RBIs, in a 7-6 come-frombehind win over Tolman at Slater Park’s Bailey Field.

“There’s been improvemen­t through out the season,” Woonsocket coach Dan Belisle said. “It doesn’t show in the record, but we’re getting better as a team. We finally got rewarded today because we played good defense and got a couple of key hits. (The sophomores) are going to learn from this experience and get better because of it.”

The biggest hit of the afternoon came from Letourneau with oneout in the seventh inning of a tie game. After Hereth knocked starter Megan Salzillo from the game with a single to left field, Hannah Caliri came in and set down the dangerous Roderick.

Letourneau, with Hereth perched at second after a stolen base, flipped a single to right field to score the catcher and give the Villa Novans a lead pitcher Lundyn Forcier turned into a win with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

“I was just trying to stay calm and look for a pitch that I could drive to the outfield to bring that run in from second,” Letourneau said after going 2-for- 4 with a run scored and an RBI. “As a team, we’ve been hitting better and we’ve made more contact on the ball. We’ve just played better.”

Woonsocket (2-10 Division I) can still make the playoffs with victories in three of its final four contests. The Novans still have to play undefeated Moses Brown in a rematch of the Division II final, along with contests against winless West Warwick, Lincoln and Chariho.

Tolman (4-8 Division I) saw its four-game league winning streak snapped Thursday afternoon. Caliri led the way with two hits, a run scored and an RBI, while Amanda Maillet chipped in with two runs scored and an RBI.

“We just didn’t hit,” Tolman coach Craig Giarrusso said. “We didn’t show up from the first pitch to play today and they did. I give them a lot of credit because they’re 1-10 coming into this game and those kids came to play and they battled. My kids rolled over and were not ready to play today.”

Woonsocket jumped all over Salzillo in the first inning, as Roderick singled and advanced to third on a Letourneau double to left. Roderick scored on a wild pitch and Letourneau scored on a passed ball.

Tolman answered with a pair of runs in the second, as Maillett singled in Brittany Baptista and scored on a ground out.

The Novans answered with a pair of runs thanks to smallball in the fourth, but then the home side took advantage of a Forcier error to score four runs in the fourth. Ally Larson (3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored), Salzillo and Caliri all had RBIs in the inning.

After the fourth, the Tigers only had one hit and advanced just two runners into scoring position.

“After that inning I didn’t say much,” Belisle said. “I just told them to keep fighting and that’s all I’ve been telling them all season. We’re not going to give up on the season and we’re not going to stop trying to improve. They’ve responded well to that little challenge.”

Roderick tied the game in the top of the fifth inning with a tworun inside-the-park home run to right field. Hereth, who also scored on the play, scored the game-winning run when she singled to start the seventh, stole second and slid into home on Letourneau’s single to right.

“I just told Holly to swing for a base hit and have quick hands because (Caliri) threw hard,” Belisle said.

While the Tigers look to bounce back Tuesday at home against West Warwick, the Novans host the Lions on the same day.

 ?? Photos by Ernest A. Brown ?? Two of the big reasons the Woonsocket softball team went 2-2 this week were sophomore infielders Abbie Roderick (above) and Holly Letourneau (below). Roderick hit a two-run home run and Letourneau drove in the game-winning run in Thursday’s 7-6 road...
Photos by Ernest A. Brown Two of the big reasons the Woonsocket softball team went 2-2 this week were sophomore infielders Abbie Roderick (above) and Holly Letourneau (below). Roderick hit a two-run home run and Letourneau drove in the game-winning run in Thursday’s 7-6 road...
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 ?? Photo by Ernest A. Brown ?? Tolman pitcher Megan Salzillo had an RBI single Thursday, but she took the loss after allowing seven runs in six-plus innings of work in a 7-6 defeat to Woonsocket.
Photo by Ernest A. Brown Tolman pitcher Megan Salzillo had an RBI single Thursday, but she took the loss after allowing seven runs in six-plus innings of work in a 7-6 defeat to Woonsocket.

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