PAWTUCKET --- Lincoln High made good on its first splendid day of the spring to play baseball.
The Lions scored four times in their opening swings and tacked on three runs in the third inning before settling on a 10-5 victory over St. Raphael Academy on Thursday afternoon in the Division I-North opener for both teams at sun-drenched Vets Park.
University of Rhode Island-bound Ryan O’Dell went 3-for-4 to propel the Lions’ 11-hit assault, and Kyle Jackson’s two-run double in the first inning and Matt Sorkin’s two-run single in the third were the key hits for the visitors.
“It was good to be on a nicely groomed field on a nice day for baseball,” offered Lincoln coach Ed Hunt. “Since we started, we had four scrimmages in the past week-and-a-half outdoors, but on days much colder than this. So it was nice to see the sun shine, no clouds in the sky, and the wind wasn’t that bad where it cut right through you.”
Jackson, who also scored three times in the game, came through with his clutch hit after Sorkin led off the game with a walk off SRA pitcher Nick Cesino, Max Blais dropped a single down the left-field line, and O’Dell ripped a base hit up the middle to plate Sorkin.
Jackson crushed his double deep into the gap in left-center to make it a 3-0 game, and he later scored on a groundout to second by Tyler Santaniello.
“They came out hitting the ball,” said SRA coach Tom “Saar” Sorrentine. “This was our first game and we knew these guys had experience and they’re a good team, so we knew we were in for a tough game.”
The Saints jumped on the board in their half of the first when Alex Collette led off with a double to right-center and later scored on a groundout by Nick Karalekas, but the Lions got the run back in the second when Sorkin reached on a fielder’s choice, went to second on a bunt hit by Blais, and came around to score on a single to left by O’Dell.
SRA then made it a two-run game in the bottom of the second on a run-scoring double to right by Julian Diaz that scored Ty Karalis, who led off with a walk and took second on a wild pitch, and an RBI single to left by Mike Badzmierowski that drove in Diaz.
But again, the Lions answered back, this time with their mini third-inning rally that saw Joe Hamilton drive in a run with a sacrifice fly to center and Sorkin line a two-run single to center.
The Saints produced their final two runs in the third on a long two-run double to left by Henry Mota. They also ended up loading the bases with two gone, but Lincoln starting pitcher Matt Mennuci got out of the inning by inducing a flyout to right for the third out.
The Lions made it a 9-5 game in the fourth on a sacrifice fly to center by Santaniello and plated their final run in the fifth on an infield error that allowed Steve Marcello to score.
While Cesino went the distance on the hill for the Saints, Mennuci worked the first four innings before giving way to Marcello, who ended the afternoon by tossing three hitless innings.
“It’s still a little cold for pitchers,” said Hunt. “We still have to get some rust off pitchers, but I think they will come around as long as they start throwing strikes.”
The Lions are back in action this afternoon with a 3:45 p.m. contest against Cumberland High at Tucker Field, while the Saints bus down to Wakefield’s Old Mountain Field for a 4 p.m. game against South Kingstown High.
Lincoln 413 110 0—10-10-2
St. Raphael 122 000 0—5-7-3
Matt Mennuci, Steve Marcello (5) and Joe Hamilton. Nick Cesino and Henry Mota. 2B – Kyle Jackson (L), Alex Collette (SRA), Julian Diaz (SRA), Henry Mota (SRA).