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No. 1 North­men avenge de­feat to No. 5 Kil­ties

- By JON BAKER

The North Smith­field High base­ball team rolled over Mt. Pleas­ant, forc­ing a win­ner­take-all game.

jbaker@paw­tuck­et­times.com

PROV­I­DENCE – Dan Beau­chemin ad­mit­ted be­ing mighty wor­ried be­fore his North Smith­field High squad took to Art Pontarelli Field at Rhode Is­land Col­lege on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

“I felt like, be­fore the game, we weren’t re­ally that pumped up,” he said. “We were way too qui- et, and that both­ered me.”

It also puzzled him, as the North­men des­per­ately needed to notch a vic­tory over Mount Pleas­ant in a Di­vi­sion III ti­tle tilt to force a win­ner­take-all clash in the dou­ble-elim­i­na­tion event.

In essence, the sopho­more cen­ter fielder no­ticed his con­tin­gent needed a spark, so he pro­vided it him­self. The kid fin­ished 4-for-5 with a dou­ble, two RBI and two runs scored to help NS crush the Kil­ties, 13-7.

Ju­nior Mike deRonde cer­tainly did his part at the plate, go­ing 3-for-5 with a dou­ble, two RBIs and a pair of runs, while se­nior tri-cap­tain Jack Losardo went 2-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch, two RBIs and a run; fel­low tri-cap­tain Adam Blake­more and ju­nior Jon Pel­letier 1-for-3 with a RBI and run; and se­nior Jack Lepage 1-for-4 with a run.

Then there was sopho­more righty Quinn Par­ent, who not only mus­tered the vic­tory but went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run. (It would’ve been two if fresh­man Kyle Doire hadn’t pinchrun for him in the sixth).

And it gets bet­ter. The first four guys in skip­per Jon Leddy’s lineup closed at a phe­nom­e­nal 10-for-17; call that a stun­ning .588 batting av­er­age.

“We needed those guys to pick it up and get us go­ing,” Leddy noted after his club not only im­proved to 18-4 over­all but qual­i­fied to bat­tle Mount Pleas­ant in the ultimate cham­pi­onship game to­day at 1 p.m. at West War­wick’s McCarthy Field.

“DeRonde and Beau­chemin both started the year on fire but then cooled off at the same time, which was tough,” he con­tin­ued. “They both have been putting in a lot of ex­tra work in the cage, and it showed here … The fact we ended up with 14 hits? That doesn’t sur­prise me be­cause our of­fense has been a strength for us for most of the sea­son.

As for Par­ent’s out­ing, he lasted 6.2 frames, yield­ing seven hits, seven runs (five earned) and four walks while whiff­ing the same amount. The most im­pres­sive part: He had a three-hit­ter go­ing en­ter­ing the sev­enth be­fore al­low­ing four runs.

“I threw two over the plate and they whacked them; I was get­ting be­hind in the count, and that al­lowed them to get good at-bats,” he sighed. He then perked up when told he had yielded just three hits through the first six.

“I felt strong through­out the gme, and my curve­ball seemed to be work­ing well,” he stated. “I tried to keep them off-bal­ance with that, and I guess they weren’t able to put good swings on them.”

What didn’t help MP, which had been un­beaten in the play­offs be­fore Satur­day, was nine un­char­ac­ter­is­tic er­rors.

When asked what it meant to reach a ti­tle tilt for the se­cond straight spring (NS lost to Clas­si­cal last sea­son), he said only, “It’s nice, but – ob­vi­ously – we have a long way to go. Noth­ing comes easy, and that in­cluded (Satur­day).”

Ju­nior righthande­r Wil­car Moreno al­lowed eight hits, nine runs (just two earned) and a walk. He also hit a bat­ter and threw two wild pitches while fan­ning one. Still, his de­fense failed to back him up.

The North­men scored a trio in the top half of the se­cond. Se­nior Devin Al­bino reached on a fielder’s choice, then raced to se­cond on a wild de­liv­ery. Sopho­more Cole Dubois then man­aged only a swing­ing bunt, but Moreno bob­bled it, then threw wildly to first; that se­cond mis­cue al­lowed Al­bino to score and Dubois to scam­per into se­cond.

The lat­ter took third on an­other pitch gone awry, and Lepage sin­gled be­fore Par­ent punched a sac­ri­fice fly to right to score Dubois. Pel­letier’s bloop hit – one that trav­eled maybe 20 feet but too elu­sive for catcher Caz­zarro and Moreno – pushed across Lepage for the 3-1 cush­ion.

MP took ad­van­tage of a blun­der it­self in the bot­tom half; se­nior Jerry Perez man­aged a one-out pass, then hus­tled to third when Par­ent’s pick­off try bounced past Lepage at first. He scored after ju­nior Vil­son Gamez bounded into a fielder’s choice.

It knot­ted it at 3 in the third, though needed a lack of a base um­pire’s call to do so. Par­ent recorded the first two outs with ease, yet se­nior Lewis Nunez (2-for-4, stolen bag, RBI, two runs) whacked a sin­gle to cen­ter, then tried to rob se­cond. On the play, it ap­peared Nunez had in­ter­fered with short­stop Blake­more’s abil­ity to field the toss from Al­bino.

When it bounced into cen­ter, Nunez sprinted to third, then scored on a wild pitch.

The ninth bat­ter, Pel­letier, earned first when right fielder Wil­bert Lau­reno dropped a rou­tine pop-up, then took se­cond when Moreno mis­played deRonde’s sac­ri­fice bunt. Beau­chemin smoked a hit to left to juice the bags, and Pel­letier gave the North­men a lead it wouldn’t re­lin­quish on wild of­fer­ing.

With run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion, Moreno walked Blake­more to re­fill the bases, and Losardo came up with a huge, bad-hop sin­gle to left, which plated a pair. The ball, how­ever, skipped past left fielder Nunez, and that aided in Blake­more’s abil­ity to score.

And, when Nunez’ throw to the plate was off line, that al­lowed Losardo to bolt in with an er­ror-filled grand slam.

NS man­u­fac­tured three more in the sixth on hits by Par­ent and deRonde and Beau­chemin’s scorched dou­ble to the left-cen­ter hole (not to men­tion Blake­more’s op­po­site-field hit to right), then two more in the sev­enth. Call deRonde the hero of the frame with a two-run two-bag­ger.

“I thought Quinn pitched re­ally well,” Leddy said. “He’s been pitching his butt off, work­ing hard out there; he al­ways keeps the ball around the strike zone, and you ex­actly what you’re go­ing to get from the kid.”

As for who he’ll start on the mound to­day?

“It’s go­ing to be deRonde, and then we’ll go with who­ever’s arm feels good,” he grinned.

**

North Smith­field 030 053 2 – 13 – 14 – 2 Mount Pleas­ant 111 000 4–7–8–9 Quinn Par­ent, Jack Losardo (7) and Devin Al­bino. Wil­car Moreno, Jose Castillo (6) and An­gelo Caz­zarro. 2B – Dan Beau­chemin, Mike deRonde. 3B – Caz­zarro.

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 ?? Photo by Ernest A. Brown ?? North Smith­field fresh­man out­fielder Ethan Lussier (21, right) catches a ball to end Satur­day’s Di­vi­sion III fi­nal against Mt. Pleas­ant. Ju­nior Michael deRonde (2), se­nior Adam Blake­more (7) and the No. 1 North­men forced an­other ti­tle game to­day at McCarthy Field with Satur­day’s 13-7 vic­tory.
Photo by Ernest A. Brown North Smith­field fresh­man out­fielder Ethan Lussier (21, right) catches a ball to end Satur­day’s Di­vi­sion III fi­nal against Mt. Pleas­ant. Ju­nior Michael deRonde (2), se­nior Adam Blake­more (7) and the No. 1 North­men forced an­other ti­tle game to­day at McCarthy Field with Satur­day’s 13-7 vic­tory.
 ?? Pho­tos by Ernest A. Brown ?? Michael deRonde (top left) con­nects for a two-run sin­gle in the sixth in­ning, while Quinn Par­ent (top right) throws a pitch in the No. 1 North­men’s 13-6 Di­vi­sion III ti­tle game win over Mt. Pleas­ant Satur­day.
Pho­tos by Ernest A. Brown Michael deRonde (top left) con­nects for a two-run sin­gle in the sixth in­ning, while Quinn Par­ent (top right) throws a pitch in the No. 1 North­men’s 13-6 Di­vi­sion III ti­tle game win over Mt. Pleas­ant Satur­day.
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