EAST PROVIDENCE — This was a case of déjà vu that East Providence High liked and Mount St. Charles Academy didn’t.
Courtney DeCastro’s second walkoff hit of the season, a run-scoring single with two outs in the home half of the eighth inning, drove in younger sister Amy DeCastro with the run that helped the Townies grab a 2-1 victory over the Mounties in their Division I crossover affair at Pierce Field.
DeCastro, who eight days ago, beat Toll Gate High with an RBI single in the final frame, laced her game-winning hit with a sharp ground single to left that allowed her sister (who began the inning on second base via the international tiebreaker rule) to beat the throw to the plate with ease.
The victory was the fourth in the last six games for the Townies, who are 3-5 in Division I play (4-5 overall) and fielding a team this season that made up primarily of sophomores and first-year juniors.
“We’ve actually been playing some very good ball lately,” said E.P. coach Rob Traverse. “We’ve 4-2 in our last six (games), and one of the losses was in extra innings to La Salle. Cumberland was a little too much for us (on Monday), but other than that, we’ve been in every game.”
While Traverse was pleased with the triumph, MSC coach Cliff Matthews bused back to Woonsocket a bit disappointed with the loss, which dropped the Mounties to 3-4 and was their third one-run loss of the season.
The defeat was also the second of the week to an East Providence school that came down to the final inning. On Monday, Bay View Academy scratched out a pair of runs in the seventh inning to pin a 9-8 loss on the Mounties, and yesterday, the Townies also struck in their final at-bats.
But what made the loss extra tough to swallow was the fine outing turned in by freshman pitcher Kristen Rodrigues. She got the start in place of junior ace Olivia Hendricks, who is out indefinitely with a right foot injury that Matthews noted he was being “extremely conservative” with.
Rodrigues showed the poise of an upperclassman as she limited the hosts to six hits and a walk, struck out three, and allowed just six batted balls to reach the outfield grass.
“She certainly pitched well enough to win,” said Matthews. “Coming in as a freshman, in this kind of situation with the expectations this team has, she did an admirable job. I think we, as a team, didn’t pick her up. We left a lot of runners on base today and we didn’t get key hits when we needed them.”
The Mounties, who stranded a dozen runners on base (including the bases loaded in the second), were also done in by some excellent defense by the Townies, namely Courtney DeCastro in left field and Amanda Horton in center.
DeCastro made a great running catch in the gap on a long shot by Nicole Silva in the first inning and a diving catch on a shallow fly by Emily Hendricks to open the seventh. And in that same inning, with runners on first and second with two gone, Horton took away a run-scoring hit by Briana Castro with an all-out diving grab to her left.
“You have to give credit to their outfield,” offered Matthews. “Their outfield made some outstanding catches, and if they don’t make those catches, they don’t win the game. They were gambling, but they won the gambles.”
Another key to the Townies’ victory was the relief pitching turned in by senior southpaw Erin Strik. When starting pitcher Lauren DiScuillo was forced to leave the game after the second inning with a minor injury, Strik took over on the mound and scattered seven hits and a walk and struck out six in her six innings of work.
“She did very well,” said Traverse. “I can’t say enough about Erin. She only allowed just two earned runs (in Monday’s 4-1 loss) to Cumberland, and then today, she came in and did a very good job.”
The Mounties scored the game’s first run in the fifth. They loaded the bases with one out, and after Strik got the second out on a strikeout, Castro laced an 0-2 pitch into center for a single. Taylor Messier scored from third with ease, but Silva, the runner on second, was gunned down at the plate on a strong throw from Horton to catcher Lindsee Allienello.
The Townies didn’t tie the game until the bottom of the seventh, as Casey Botelho led off with a line single to center, took second on a sacrifice bunt by DiScuillo (who re-entered the game only as a pinch-hitter for Strik), and dashed home on a ground single to right by Horton.
With the international tiebreaker rule coming into play in the eighth, the Mounties send the last out from the seventh inning, Castro, out to second. She ended up taking third on a one-out wild pitch by Strik, but the lefthander came back to get the next two outs on a strikeout and a groundout to second.
Allienello, who legged out two bunt singles, and Courtney DeCastro were the hosts’ lone players with multiple hits. Rodrigues was the Mounties’ lone player with two hits.
Mount St. Charles 000 010 00 – 1-10-1
East Providence 000 000 11 – 2-6-1
Kristen Rodrigues and Alyssa Lanzi; Lauren DiScuillo, Erin Strik (3) and Lindsee Allienello.