Szafran­ski, Croteau, Dav­ock all pick up two hits against ’Bolts

Clip­pers hit well in 6-3 loss

Woonsocket Call - - SPORTS - By BRAN­DEN MELLO bmello@woonsock­et­

CUM­BER­LAND — For the sec­ond time this week a Cranston ace toed the rub­ber at Tucker Field.

But, un­like Tues­day af­ter­noon when Cranston West’s Brett Traf­i­cante be­fud­dled Cum­ber­land for six in­nings, the Clip­pers pro­duced a num­ber of pro­duc­tive at bats against Cranston East ju­nior righty Gio­vanni Canales Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

The top three hit­ters in Cum­ber­land’s or­der – se­nior Drew Szafran­ski and ju­niors Nick Croteau and CJ Dav­ock, each had two hits, as the Clip­pers de­liv­ered 10 hits against the hard-throw­ing Thun­der­bolt. Canales, how­ever, stranded seven run­ners, in­clud­ing five in scor­ing po­si­tion, to lead his team to an im­por­tant 6-3 Divi­sion I road win.

“He’s one of the top pitch­ers in the state this year and we had some great at bats. The mis­takes he did make, we jumped on them,” Cum­ber­land coach Andy Tuetken said.

“We hit a lot of balls hard, so we can take a lot from a game like this. The difference be­tween this game and the one against West was qual­ity at bats.

“This is high school base­ball, so pitch­ers are go­ing to miss their lo­ca­tion and we didn’t jump on it against a good pitcher like Traf­i­cante. To­day, we hit his mis­takes. We just didn’t get this timely hits when we had run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion.”

Cum­ber­land (9-6 Divi­sion I) brought the game-ty­ing run to the plate in the fifth in­ning af­ter ju­nior third base­man Joe Mo­lis laced an out­side fast­ball to right field to score Szafran­ski and Dav­ock. With Zach Fo­gell at third and Mo­lis at first, Canales in­duced Evan Marcet into a fielder’s choice.

The Clip­pers only had one more base run­ner, but re­liever Quinn Lani­gan stranded Croteau (walk) at third base to earn the three­out save. Cum­ber­land has now dropped two straight games headed into to­day’s con­test at Pil­grim where sopho­more lefty Bran­don Wright will get the start.

“It’s a big game for us be­cause if you have three games in a week, you at least want to end it on a high note,” Tuetken said.

Cranston East (12-3 Divi­sion I) re­mained in a tie with South Kingstown for first place. The top two spots in the play­offs are im­por­tant be­cause only the top two teams get a bye into the sec­ond round of the dou­ble-elim­i­na­tion tour­na­ment.

The Thun­der­bolts re­ceived two hits, two runs scored and two RBIs from se­nior stand­out Justin Neary and catcher Alex Martinez. Sec­ond base­man Roben­son An­toine scored a run and drove in a run dur­ing the three-run fifth in­ning.

Ryan Kirk­patrick, who has spent the sea­son as a re­liever for Tuetken, picked up a spot start be­cause of an in­jury. The sopho­more had no trou­ble in the first in­ning, but the Thun­der­bolts tagged him for two runs in the sec­ond in­ning, as Neary led off with a sin­gle and scored on a wild pitch. An­toine scored later on a sac­ri­fice fly.

Canales drove in Martinez to in­crease the lead to three, be­fore Adam Berther­man grabbed a run back in the bot­tom of the third in­ning with a sin­gle to score Evan Marcet.

Kirk­patrick ran out of gas in the fifth in­ning, as Lani­gan (walk), Martinez (RBI dou­ble) and Neary (RBI sin­gle) all scored. Kirk­patrick was re­placed by Michael No­cera, who didn’t al­low a run in 2.2 in­nings of work.

“I thought [Kirk­patrick] did ex­cel­lent be­cause they’re a real good hit­ting team,” Tuetken said. “They can swing the bat and he did a nice job stay­ing ahead of hit­ters. He also worked him­self out of some jams. He just ran out of steam in the fifth and the sec­ond time around they started to zone him up a lit­tle.”

Cum­ber­land re­sponded in its half of the fifth by putting three of the first four bat­ters on base. Szafran­ski started with a sin­gle and moved into scor­ing po­si­tion on a Dav­ock sin­gle. Fo­gell loaded the bases with a bunt sin­gle and Mo­lis drove in a pair with his sin­gle to right. Canales, as he did all af­ter­noon, worked out of the jam to pre­serve the lead.

“When Joey had that hit, we felt like we were right back in the game,” Tuetken said. “It was late in the game and we had run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion, but we just couldn’t get them in. Cranston East 021 030 0–671 Cum­ber­land 000 120 0 – 3 10 0

Gio­vanni Canales, Quinn Lani­gan (7) and Alex Martinez; Ryan Kirk­patrick, Michael No­cera (5) and Reuben Han­cock. 2B – CE, Martinez, An­thony Ramos.

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