PAWTUCKET --- Tolman High and Narragansett Highâ€™s pitching staffs looked every bit like they were working in their third playoff game in as many days on Friday afternoon.
Not only did both sides combine to use eight pitchers, but they also issued a whopping 27 walks, and that helped make their Division II losersâ€™ bracket game a marathon affair that lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes.
PAWTUCKET â€“ An eight-game homestand got off to a bland start as the Pawtucket Red Sox fell to Indianapolis, 4-3, Thursday at a fog-laden McCoy Stadium.
The contestâ€™s pace matched the pea soup fog that engulfed the ballpark by the middle innings. Eventually the fog lifted to the point where the outfielders could be identified, but its disappearance did little to ignite a rally out of the PawSox, who were coming off a 5-3 road trip.
PAWTUCKET â€” St. Raphael Academy followed up one of its best games of the season with arguably its worst on Thursday afternoon and paid for it.
The price the Saints paid? A demotion to the losersâ€™ bracket of the Division I playoffs and a battle for their playoff lives today against East Greenwich High.
Fourteenth-seeded Cranston East High took advantage of six infield errors and a lack of timely hitting by the Saints and used that to bus out of Vets Park with a 6-1 triumph that puts the Thunderbolts one win away from sewing up the Region 3 portion of the tournament.
PAWTUCKET â€” Hideki Okajima kicked off his second tour of duty with the PawSox Thursday, admitting that McCoy Stadium was the last place he expected to set foot in. Such sentiment can be linked to the events of last Friday, when Boston designated the 35-year-old reliever for assignment.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Theo Murray was ready to talk suicide squeeze with Brandon Gagne. It didnâ€™t take long for Murray to recalibrate his expectations for the Tolman High junior after Gagne voiced he was in no mood to lay down a bunt.
Swing away then, insisted Murray. With the onus now on Gagne to deliver the goods on his confident promise, the leadoff hitter came through with arguably the biggest hit of the season for the Tigers.
LINCOLN â€“ Cranston East sure didnâ€™t play like a No. 14 seed, nor did Lincoln High look the part of a state title contender.
So while Wednesdayâ€™s result at Chet Nichols Field could certainly be described as unexpected, it wasnâ€™t exactly a shock.
Fresh off a 14-4 regular season that produced a Division I-North crown and the third overall seed in the 16-team, double-elimination state tournament, Lincoln endured a collective struggle in dropping a 4-2 decision to Cranston East, an 8-10 team out of Division I-Central.
PAWTUCKET â€“ The banner to the left of the scoreboard at the Donaldson Gymnasium signifies the last time that Tolman High has earned a state title in Division II volleyball. It was 2003, a mere three years after it captured its first in the program history.
Longtime head coach Neil Nachbar isnâ€™t predicting his Tigers will be able to add another year to that banner, but itâ€™s certainly possible.
WOONSOCKET â€“ Kristen Rodrigues spun a complete game four-hitter as Mount St. Charles climbed back over the .500 mark courtesy of Tuesdayâ€™s 4-1 win over La Salle Academy.
The Mounties improve to 9-8 in Division I-North with one game remaining, Saturday at home against Smithfield.
Rodrigues collected four strikeouts while walking no one. Taylor Messier finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored while Emily Hendricks went 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Hannah Gardella delivered a RBI double in the second inning.
La Salle 010 000 0 -1-6-1
Mount St. Charles 011 200 x â€“ 4-8-1
The high school baseball outfits hailing from Lincoln, Tolman and Woonsocket find themselves in an enviable position â€“ at home, serving as the higher seed in the opening round of the double elimination, regional playoffs, which cuts four ways with four teams comprising each group.
The real key as baseballâ€™s second season gets under way is not specifically tied to home-field advantage. In the case of a double-elimination format, itâ€™s about starting out on the right foot. Win on Wednesday and wait until Friday before resuming the March to McCoy Stadium. Thatâ€™s called the easy road.