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WOONSOCKET â€” Cumberland American All-Stars skipper Bruce Stanford knew he had a decent-hitting club, but nothing like this.
His Nos. 4, 5 and 7 hitters finished 10-for-10 with nine RBI and eight runs scored as CALL rolled to a wildly-entertaining 12-6 victory over Bernonâ€™s best in a R.I. District IV Major Division Tournament Pool B tilt at Ayotte Field on Friday night.
It gets better: Of the 13 hits Cumberland American clubbed, a whopping nine went for extra bases. Clean-up hitter Ben Brakenwagen went 3-3 with two doubles, a homer, an RBI and four runs scored, and â€“ right behind him â€“ starting pitcher Mike DeBlois closed at 4-for-4 with a pair of two-baggers, a dinger, five RBI and two runs.
No. 7 batter Owen Paine went 3-for-3, with a trio of RBI and two runs as CALL improved to 2-1 in pool action.
â€śWow! Thatâ€™s an amazing stat!â€ť the elder Stanford responded after being told the threesomeâ€™s aggregate numbers. â€śAfter the game, I told them it was an awesome win, a great team win. We had some mistakes out there, like not communicating, and weâ€™re going to have to work on that, but overall we played really well.
â€śI thought we came out a little nervous, a little jittery, but we kept telling them to stay focused, keep the heads in the game and good things would happen. I also said that they can enjoy the win (Friday night) all they want, but, basically, I want them at practice (today) at 8 a.m. Weâ€™re going right back at it.â€ť
CALL will return to pool play at 5:30 p.m., Monday; thatâ€™s when it faces rival Cumberland National at Garvin Field.
Bernon, which fell to 0-2, will host Scituate/Foster, also winless in two games, at the same time Monday.
â€śAre you kidding? Did they?â€ť asked Bernon head coach Willie Houle in regard to the stats registered by the trio. â€śI still give our kids credit. We played Cumberland National tight last Tuesday night; we lost 7-0, but we came back against American and kept battling.
â€śActually, last year, we were the only team (in District IV action) to come close to beating them,â€ť he continued. â€śI think we only lost by a couple of runs, and thatâ€™s the same team that won the New England championship and went to Williamsport.â€ť
After a shaky first frame on both sides â€“ call it the olâ€™ nervous butterflies â€“ CALL mustered a pair in the top of the second off of southpaw Wandell Felix. Drakenwagen ripped a double to right-center on the first pitch, DeBlois singled him to third and â€“ with one out â€“ Paineâ€™s two-bagger to right-center scored both.
Undaunted, Bernon notched three in the bottom half to take the 3-2 lead. DeBlois issued a leadoff walk to Jared Briere, and Quirindongo rapped a single to center, one that was misplayed and rolled to the fence. Briere scored with ease and Quirindongo raced to third.
DeBlois actually whiffed Elijah McDowell, but â€“ when the third strike bounced past catcher Matt Rockefeller â€“ he sprinted to first on the miscue. With one out, Zack Harnois crushed a double down the left-field line to plate both.
CALL regained the lead at 4-3 in the third after recording a pair. Rockefeller had drawn a lead walk, but Alex Esposito popped out to first baseman Briere, who promptly tagged the bag for the unassisted twin killing.
Lucas Pontbriant, however, walked, took third on Drakenwagenâ€™s double to center, and that duo came across on DeBloisâ€™ initial two-bagger.
Like the previous two frames, Stanfordâ€™s bunch manufactured another two in the fourth. Paine opened with a hit to left, and â€“ following two quick outs â€“ Rockefeller hammered a blast about 210 feet to right-center.
Again, though, Bernon spoiled the flurry with one of its own. Quirindongo started the fourth with a bloop double to center, one that fell between second baseman Colin Langton and shortstop Drakenwagen, then scored on McDowellâ€™s single to right-center. (He was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double).
Pinch-hitter Matt Jarret drew a base-on-balls and took second on a passed ball before DeBlois hit Harrison Blais with a pitch.
Colin Godfrinâ€™s double to deep left drove in Jarret and Blais, and the three runs knotted it at 6-6.
The tie didnâ€™t last long, as Drakenwagen walloped a 2-0 Felix delivery over an 18-wheel tractor trailer stationed beyond the right-center fence to start the fifth. (It traveled a minimum of 260 feet).
Thatâ€™s when Houle opted to replace Felix with Blais. (Felix, by the way, lasted four-plus innings, yielding nine hits, seven runs (all earned), two walks, a pair of wild pitches while fanning a quintet).
After Jordan Stanford had seemingly beat out an infield single but was called out, DeBlois tagged a dinger approximately 225 feet over the wall in left, and Paine responded with one of his own, to virtually the same spot for the 9-6 advantage.
â€śI was just looking for a few base hits to get more runs across,â€ť Coach Stanford said. â€śI wanted to nickel and dime them. I donâ€™t push the long ball; I just think that will come on its own, but â€“ boy â€“ did we do that in the fifth. It was nice to see.â€ť
Cumberland American tacked on three insurance runs in the sixth off of Blais. Drew Szafranski drew a one-out walk and moved to third on Pontbriantâ€™s hit to left (he took second on the throw home) before both scored on DeBloisâ€™ second double, this to deep left.
With the bases jammed, Larson drew a two-out walk to plate Drakenwagen.
Outside of CALLâ€™s â€śBig Three,â€ť which batted an uncanny 1.000, their remaining players recorded an average of only .150.
On the hill, DeBlois lasted four innings (with a pitch count of 83, just two below the Little League mandate) and allowed five hits, six runs (four earned) and three walks while fanning a half-dozen. He also hit a batter.
As for Pontbriant, he allowed only one hit and two walks while striking out three in his two-frame appearance.
â€śMike has been really solid for us,â€ť Stanford noted. â€śHe just does what he has to do: Keep us in games. As for Lucas, it was good to see him get some work. He kept the momentum from shifting, which it couldâ€™ve done easily.
â€śBernon is a team that plays hard all the time, never gives up,â€ť he added. â€śThey kept plugging.â€ť
Offered Houle: The home-run ball killed us, no ifs, ands or buts about that. We just didnâ€™t hit the ball. Weâ€™ve got to swing at two-strike pitches, and thatâ€™s something we couldâ€™ve been better at.â€ť