Play it again NS
No. 1 Northmen avenge defeat to No. 5 Kilties
The North Smithfield High baseball team rolled over Mt. Pleasant, forcing a winnertake-all game.
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.