Szafranski, Croteau, Davock all pick up two hits against ’Bolts
Clippers hit well in 6-3 loss
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.