Waves fall short in title series
SOUTH KINGSTOWN – It was evident in the first inning Thursday night that the Ocean State Waves were headed for a second straight finals loss. Competing against the Valley Blue Sox in the New England Collegiate Baseball League championship series for the second season running, the Waves were swept, with their season ending on a crushing 19-6 defeat at Old Mountain Field.
After losing Game 1, 5-3, on the road, the Waves returned home looking to force a decisive Game 3. The Blue Sox bats smashed the ball all over the park on Thursday, collecting 20 hits – six of which went for extra bases.
Ocean State had their best arms available to handle pitching duties, even if the final stats might indicate otherwise. URI hurler Nick Robinson drew the pivotal start, but failed to live up to his summer ERA of 2.43.
Robinson – and the Waves defense – spotted the Blue Sox a fiverun lead in the first half inning. Two singles and an infield error set the table for a three-run home run by Andre Marrero (Quinnipiac University). Two more defensive miscues pushed across the other pair of runs.
Reliever Peyton Deats sported a sub-2.00 ERA this summer out of the bullpen, but he was tagged for four earned runs when he came on in relief of Robinson. After holding the Blue Sox to a single run on two hits in the fourth, Deats walked the bases loaded to begin the fifth.
Deats gave way to Joe Kelly (St. John’s), another sub-2.00 ERA reliever who couldn’t tame the Blue Sox. All three inherited runners scored on a pair of singles and the Waves trailed 11-3.
While the fully lock-and-loaded rotation struggled, the Waves offense finally saw their fatigue and injuries catch up to them. Missing for the title series was Ryan Ward (.306 hitter this summer, injured his leg in the one-game playoff against Mystic) and Brian Moskey (was hitting .328 before leaving the team). Sonny Ulliana had played the hero in the Waves Divisional round win over Plymouth, but 80plus games of working behind the plate finally caught up with him. He batted .211 in five postseason starts.
In the place of Ward and Moskey stood less accomplished players from lower levels of collegiate ball. Daren Wood and Jacob Partridge batted eighth and ninth throughout the playoffs for the Waves, and had their struggles at the plate.
Wood – who plays his college ball at Division III Widener University in Pennsylvania – crushed the ball for the Waves in limited action in the regular season. In seven games he had five hits and three RBIs. The playoffs were another story; he was 1-for-11 in the postseason.
Partridge also plays D-III, at Concordia College. He played in both five regular and postseason games this summer, failing to register more than three hits over either span.
The Waves showed a brief flash of life in the fifth. After Wood had scored their first run in the third – on a walk and wild pitch – the top of the order took over in the fifth. Grant English smoked a two run home run deep over the center field fence to cut the lead down to 11-3.
The rising senior from Winthrop hit three of the eight Waves postseason home runs and had 10 total this sum- mer. He again went yard on Thursday in the bottom of the ninth. Casey Dana also went deep in the loss.
The Waves ultimately used six pitchers in the game, and all but Zemp Schwab gave up at least one earned run.
After beating the Waves last summer to win their first-ever Vincent Fay Cup, the Blue Sox have now become back-to-back champions.