WOONSOCKET --- Winning close games hasn’t been a strong point for Mount St. Charles Academy this year, but on Thursday afternoon, the Mounties found a way to take a tight battle with St. Raphael Academy.
The Mounties broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and received a strong outing from senior pitcher Collins Uttermann to down the Saints, 5-2, in their Division I-North meeting.
The victory was a much-needed one for the host Mounties, who raised their record to 5-7 and came into the contest with losses in four of their last six games.
Of the Mounties’ seven defeats this year, five of them were one- or two-run losses, and that was a point brought up after the game to MSC coach Tom Seaver, whose club had cruised to their previous four wins by an average margin of 6½ runs.
“And we lost two of those games in extra innings,” noted MSC coach Tom Seaver, whose crew won the last two Division II state titles before moving up to Division I this season. “The kids had to learn how to put a team away with a close score, and they were able to do that today.”
Uttermann’s solid performance was certainly a key to the victory, as he limited the Saints to six hits, struck out five, and walked two in the last inning when he started to feel some fatigue.
“I told the kids that I thought Collins pitched the best outing of any Mount pitcher this year,” said Seaver. “Collins did a great job in mixing his pitches up. St. Ray’s is a great hitting team and Collins kept a lot of their batters off-balanced for certain at-bats.”
“He pitched pretty well,” said SRA coach Tom “Saar” Sorrentine. “He was getting ahead of our hitters and spotting the ball all game and we were pounding it into the ground.”
Sorrentine was also pleased with the excellent outing he received from junior Nick Cesino, who scattered seven hits, fanned four, and walked two. Cesino had held the Mounties to three hits after five innings of work, but the hosts struck in the sixth.
With one gone, Tyler Geffert and Derek Deschene lined carbon-copy line doubles into the gap in left-center field to snap the 2-2 draw.
Taylor Sutherland then lined a base hit to center (past the dive of second baseman Julian Diaz) to plate Deschene, and after he took second on a wild pitch, he scored the Mounties’ final run on a hustle double to center by Dan O’Brien.
The Mounties then went on to load the bases on a walk and the Saints’ fourth error of the game, but Cesino halted the rally by quickly getting the next two outs.
The Saints tried to answer back in the top of the seventh, when with two outs, they loaded the bases on walks to Gagnon and Alex Collette and an infield single from Mitsmenn. But Uttermann ended the threat and the game by getting the next batter to fly out to center.
The Mounties produced their first two runs in their opening swings. Tim Doyle led off with a walk and scored all the way from first on a opposite-field double into the left-field corner by Trevor Plante.
Plante then took third on a grounder to first by Brian Campbell and sped home and scored on a close play two pitches later on a wild pitch by Cesino.
The Saints then knotted the score in the fifth, as Diaz and Jackson Gervais kicked off the inning with singles, Nick Gagnon drove in Diaz with a sacrifice fly to right, and Zach Mitsmenn plated Gervais with a two-out bloop single to center.
“It was frustrating losing the 2-0 lead, but that’s just tough baseball,” noted Seaver. “St. Ray’s wasn’t going to go away. But when we responded with that sixth-inning rally, that put a smile on everyone’s faces.”
The loss certainly didn’t put a smile on the Saints’ face. They bused into town with wins in four of their last five games, but eventually saw their record slip to 6-6.
“They had our number,” said Sorrentine, whose club dropped a 10-3 verdict to the Mounties back on April 18 at Vets Park. “We’ve been playing well. We just didn’t hit the ball today.”