PAWTUCKET â This game went from a pitchersâ duel to another lopsided Tolman victory in a hurry.
Deadlocked at 1-1 after 4Âœ innings of a tough Division II crossover duel with Pilgrim, the Tigers scratched out three runs in the home half of the fifth inning before erupting for six more in the sixth and ending up with a 10-3 triumph at Slater Park that kept them unbeaten.
The win raises the Tigersâ record to 5-0 and comes against a talented Pilgrim squad that despite dropping to 2-3, has played well in a difficult Division II-Central that includes two of the Division IIâs teams to beat in unbeaten West Warwick and East Greenwich (4-1).
âPilgrim has a very good team,â noted Tolman coach Craig Giarrusso, whose Division II-East leading Tigers have outscored their opponents, 78-14, âbut I thought we played very well today and we got some clutch hits late when we needed them.â
The Tigers collected 10 of their dozen hits in the final two innings, and four of them were bunt singles, two each by the last two batters in the lineup, juniors Jordyn Klemanchuck and Brittany Bilodeau.
Bilodeauâs first hit of the game was the one that helped snap the 1-1 tie in the fifth and came after Klemanchuck reached first on a one-out bunt.
With the infield drawn in, Bilodeau slapped a perfect bunt past first baseman Caitlin Blanchard and second baseman Danielle LeBlanc (who was racing to cover first base) and into the outfield.
Klemanchuck rounded second and poured on the speed as she raced to third, and when right fielder Tiffany LeGare made an ill-advised late throw to third, Giarrusso, who was coaching third, waved Klemanchuck home.
Klemanchuck never slowed down as she sped toward the plate, and she was able to beat the throw home by third baseman Kelsey Johnston with ease.
âThat was a very big hit,â remarked Giarrusso. âBrittany also had a big hit against Moses Brown [last Friday] and she had a big hit against Tiverton [on Tuesday]. Sheâs done a great job at the bottom of the order.â
With two outs, Bilodeau was able to score another run when she raced home from second on a dropped fly ball on the left side of the infield, and Ashley Hessler, who sped to second on the error, made it a 4-1 contest when Ashley Clark ripped a sharp single up the middle.
That was all the offensive support junior ace pitcher Olivia Larson needed to pick up the âWâ, as she ended up with a seven-hitter that saw her strike out seven batters and allow five walks and not a lot of hard-hit balls.
âOliviaâs been pitching very well,â said Giarrusso. âShe pitched another great game for seven innings.â
The Tigers scored first in the second inning off crafty southpaw pitcher Carly Cabral, who allowed five hits and no walks and struck out seven in her first five innings of work before Tolman batted around its lineup in its destructive sixth-inning rally.
Leiandra Wilson knocked in the run with a sacrifice fly to left field, but three innings later, the Patriots tied the score on a two-out triple to deep center by Katelyn Reph that was followed by a line single to right-center by Cabral.
In the sixth, the Tigersâ first six batters reached base, as Megan Klemanchuck led off by reaching on a throwing error, and Wilson, Katie Therriault, Jordyn Klemanchuck, Bilodeau, and Alex Lacoste all followed with singles.
Therriaultâs base hit was a pinch-hit line drive to left that brought in the first two runs of the inning, and after Jordyn Klemanchuck and Bilodeau loaded the bases with their bunt hits, Lacoste blooped a single to right to score two more runs.
An out later, Clark capped a wonderful 3-for-4 day with a two-run single that made it a 10-1 game. The Tigers nearly enforced the 10-run mercy rule when a fielderâs choice grounder by Larson and a double by Megan Klemanchuck put runners in scoring position, but they were unable to cash in.
The Tigers are back in action on Saturday with a 7 p.m. game back at Slater Park against another Division II-Central opponent, Mount Hope. This is the first of seven night games on the Tigersâ schedule this season.
Pilgrim 000 010 2--3-7-3
Tolman 010 036 x--10-12-4
Carly Cabral and Lauren Peladeau; Olivia Larson and Megan Klemanchuck. 2B -- Ashley Clark (T), Megan Klemanchuck (T). 3B -- Katelyn Reph (P).