Purple hand Northmen first defeat in 9 innings
PROVIDENCE – At one point, a Classical High baseball coach who happened to be coaching first base looked over to North Smithfield mentor Jon Leddy and stated, “Another North Smithfield-Classical dogfight.”
The true-and-true statement was made before the top of the eighth inning. The two Division III contenders ended up going nine with the Purple reigning as rain drops fell at Davies Park. Jordan Ledesma took a pitch off the arm with the bases loaded to give Classical a 7-6 nine-inning victory on Wednesday afternoon.
The loss was the first in league play for the Northmen, who stood at 14-0 entering the day. Classical, which upended North Smithfield to capture last year’s D-III title, is now 12-2.
“This was definitely a good test for us. The first time we played them, they had a couple of guys missing,” said Leddy while attempting to reassure his players that you can’t always win them all. “Regardless of our record and their record, this is still the team to beat.”
Classical’s ninth-inning magic started with an error and was followed by a stolen base and two walks, one of the intentional variety. North Smithfield reliever Jack Losardo did exactly what Leddy wanted as the senior kept attacking the Purple hitters after relieving starter Adam Blackmore in the sixth. One pitch proved to get away from Losardo and it allowed Ledesma and Classical to walk off as winners.
North Smithfield enjoyed a 5-3 lead after three innings and was up 6-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Losardo and Devin Albino opened the frame with back-to-back singles with Losardo coming around to score on a throwing error on what appeared to be a double-play ball.
The Northmen were in prime position to extend their lead but Purple center fielder Rainer Vargas had other ideas. Vargas caught a fly ball and threw out a runner at home to complete an 8-2 double-play. He then made a diving catch that took away more runs for the visitors.
“Their center fielder saved the game for them,” Leddy said. “Just a tremendous throw and then the catch of the season.”
The Purple tied the game in the home half of the seventh behind an RBI double by Chris Fernandez. An error by North Smithfield allowed Fernandez to come to the plate with a chance to do damage as opposed to stepping into the box with two down and no one on base.
North Smithfield threated in the eighth as Losardo doubled with two outs and again in the ninth as Jack Lepage singled with two down. Both runners were stranded.
“We can’t hang our heads. We definitely need to bounce back,” Leddy said.
For the Northmen, the chance to do so comes Friday at Rogers. PAWTUCKET — Shea sophomore Ja- cob Faria struck out seven Davies batters and allowed just three hits and two earned runs in a complete-game effort to lead the Raiders to a 3-2 Division III win over the Patriots Wednesday afternoon at Max Read Field.
The Patriots led by two runs going into the bottom of the fourth when Manny Ortiz singled and moved into scoring position on a walk to Noah Potter. JaRon Lewis tied the game with a double and Lewis scored the game-winning run on an obstruction call against catcher Haidyn Nocks in a run down.
Shea (4-11 Division III) finished t he afternoon with three hits. The Raiders host Paul Cuffee Monday afternoon.
Davies Tech (1-12 Division III) received a complete-game effort from pitcher Ronald Gaynor. Gaynor, Tim Lach and Nich Rossi all had singles for the Pats, who travel to Times2 in Providence Friday.
Davies 010 100 0–232
Shea 000 300 x–363
Ronald Gaynor and Haidyn Nocks; Jacob Faria and Manny Ortiz