PAWTUCKET — With its playoff hopes squarely on the line, Shea High avoided elimination from the postseason on Friday with a 6-2 victory over Juanita Sanchez.
The Raiders (7-10) host Wheeler School (9-7) this afternoon at 2 p.m. in what amounts to a “win and you’re in” game for the home team.
“I think we’re in if we beat Wheeler,” Shea coach Dino Campopiano said after Friday’s game had ended.
The top 16 teams in the 24-team Division II qualify for the postseason. With most teams playing makeup games on Friday and today to complete their rain-delayed schedules, a true picture of the playoff qualifiers won’t be known until later on this evening.
Shea played one of its best games of the season in defeating Juanita Sanchez (12-6) for the season time this spring. Eric Geisman has been the winning pitcher in both of those games. On Friday, he tossed a complete game while scattering 10 hits. The senior right hander struck out six batters and walked three.
“We played good defense behind Eric,” Campopiano pointed out. “We had a lot of good plays today and we only made one error. That’s been our big problem this season. Our starting pitching has been pretty good but we’ve made too many errors that extend innings and force our pitchers to throw 20 or 30 pitches in an inning.”
The Helena brothers – senior Aneuris and freshman Bladimir – stoked the offensive fires for the Raiders. Each brother doubled twice in three official trips to the plate. Aneuris knocked in two runs and Bladimir broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth with a double up the left-center field gap to bring home two runs.
Shea broke on top in the bottom of the first inning when Geisman singled home a run and Aneuris Helena doubled in another for an early 2-0 lead.
Juanita Sanchez briefly tied the game at 2-2 in the third inning on doubles by Luis Fajardo and Diego Campos. Shea took the lead back in the bottom of the inning when Aneuris Helena hit a second RBI double off losing pitcher Alexis Gonell.
Geisman then stymied the potent Juanita Sanchez over the next three innings while relying on excellent play from his defense. Center fielder Wilfredo Cruz made a nice running catch of a short fly ball to end the sixth, catching the ball with a final lunge and falling to the ground as left fielder Walter Venterpool crashed into him while also going hard for the ball.
If the ball had dropped, the game would have been tied. Instead, the Raiders came back to their bench and tacked on three runs to make the seventh inning a whole lot easier for Geisman.
Senior Shane LaRose will start today’s game for the Raiders, who dropped a 9-2 decision to Wheeler School back on April 20.