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Clippers stay hot, belt Mounties

April 12, 2012

Cumberland senior Christian Spader connects for an RBI triple during fifth-inning action Thursday afternoon at Mount St. Charles. PHOTO BY ERNEST A. BROWN.

WOONSOCKET — On Tuesday, host Cumberland High pounded out 17 hits, including nine for extra bases, en route to a 14-0 “mercy rule” pasting of Smithfield High.
Skipper Paul Murphy’s crew didn’t supply him and assistant Dale O’Dell with the same kind of offensive barrage 48 hours later at Mount St. Charles, but it did register eight hits to post a second consecutive “mercy rule” triumph over the Mounties, this time an 11-0 verdict on Thursday.
The Clippers also took advantage of junior southpaw Dylan Boisclair’s stellar performance on the hill. He yielded only four hits and four walks while whiffing a quartet during his five-inning stint, one that was cut short due to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s 10-run “gimme a break” regulation.
With the victory, Cumberland captured its third straight and improved to 3-1 on the Division I-North campaign. MSC fell to 1-3.
“It was a solid effort from Dylan,” Murphy stated afterward. “He got out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam in the third, and another bases-loaded jam in the fourth with two outs. As for the offense, (Thursday) it was luke warm. We had a lot of walks, but we did what we had to do to get guys on base.
“Over the first two innings, we didn’t have good at-bats at all, and we were swinging at some really bad pitches,” he added. “I think (the success) came from the guys seeing the kid (Mounties’ sophomore righty starter Riley Young) once through the lineup. That’s when guys came back to the dugout and told the kids on deck what (Young) was showing.
“When it came time, the guys just focused on recognizing his pitches and swinging only at balls in the strike zone.”
Senior backstop Matt Billington led the surge, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Classmate Christian Spader finished 1-for-4 with a triple, RBI and two runs, while Boisclair helped himself with a 1-for-2 outing, an RBI and a run. Actually, junior No. 9 hitter Matt Bare accomplished the same as his lefty.
After two rather undescript frames, Cumberland got on the board in the third with a two-out flurry. Joubert started it with a walk, and Spader reached on an infield error. Billington then drilled a two-run single to left to plate both as Cumberland took a 2-0 advantage.
It certainly looked as if the Mounties – at the very least – would knot the score in the bottom of the third. Boisclair walked Young, the No. 8 batter, and senior Ryan Simoneau roped a hit to right. Classmate Ryan Harris laid down a bunt to move up his baserunners, but he beat third baseman Eric Murray’s throw to first.
With the bags full, however, Boisclair got junior Dan Glod to ground into a 1-2-3 double play, then forced senior Brian Campbell to pop out to third to end the threat.
In the back half of the fourth, Boisclair recorded two quick outs, but sophomore Nolan Hayward reached on an infield single, and the Clippers’ southpaw walked both freshman Kevin Valentine and Young to juice the bags once more.
This time, Boisclair caught Simoneau looking at a called strike three to avoid any possible damage.
Cumberland, sending an amazing 14 to the plate, responded with nine in the fifth to ice it. Harris opened the frame with a walk, then stole second and immediately hustled to third when junior catcher Casey Ryan threw short to second, and the ball rolled into center. Spader plated Harris with a triple to right, and Billington walked. When Young fired low and wild to the plate, Spader raced home and Billington to third.
Senior Justin Patrick also drew a base-on-balls, and that’s when MSC mentor Tom Seaver replaced Young with junior righty Jamie Pirraglia, and he immediately yielded Boisclair a hit to right, one that scored Billington and moved Patrick to second.
Pirraglia’s first wild pitch placed Patrick at third and Boisclair at second, and Patrick scored on the reliever’s second low pitch. With Boisclair at third, Pirraglia walked senior Eric Murray and junior Pete Travers to reload the bases, and Bare’s bloop single to right allowed Boisclair to score and give the Clippers a 7-0 cushion.
Travers later scored on an infield miscue, Harris recorded a RBI with a walk, and both Bare and Harris came around on Joubert’s drilled single to right-center.
“I just told my kids that we didn’t get the clutch hits early, when we needed them, and that came back to bite us,” sighed Seaver. “I thought Boisclair did a great job of keeping us off-balance. I thought our lack of hitting came partly from his coming from the left side, and the way he changed speeds.
“I think Riley did a really good job on the mound for us. He walked a few in the fifth, and had some wild pitches, but it’s still early. I know we’ll get on a roll.”
Murphy cringed when asked who’s up next on his Clippers’ schedule.
“We’ve got three next week, and they won’t be easy,” he said. “We’re at St. Ray’s on Monday, then we’re home to Lincoln on Wednesday and home again to face La Salle on Friday. Those are three big ones we’ve got coming up, so I hope this (offense and pitching) continues.”

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