WOONSOCKET – It was the first game of the season – a loss to Johnston -- when Woonsocket High baseball coach John Marsella knew he had a team that could do some damage in Division II.
“We lost to Johnston 2-1 in our opener,” Marsella was saying on Monday. “Everyone had told me before the season that Johnston was the class of the division. After that game, we knew we could play with them. That gave confidence to everyone on the team.”
The Villa Novans, 15-3 this season, will face Johnston in the Division II semifinals on Wednesday at Pierce Field in East Providence. Johnston finished 17-2, losing to Woonsocket 5-4 on May 6 and then to Central in the regular season finale, 9-6.
Central and Prout, both 15-3 in the league season, will meet in the other best-of-three semifinal series. Central ruled Division II-Central while Prout was the class of the South. Woonsocket finished 1 1/2 games behind Johnston in the North.
Marsella took the time on Monday to go over his lineup.
CATCHER – Danny Rivera. “Danny is a senior, a good defensive catcher and a third-year starter. His experience behind the plate is a valuable asset for us.”
FIRST BASE – Andreas Bracket. “Andreas is a junior with an outstanding glove. He’s our cleanup hitter, one of the best hitters on our team.”
SECOND BASE – Cody L’Hereux. “Cody is a sophomore who has impressed us with his glove. He is a steady hitter, too.”
SHORTSTOP – Will Andino. “Will is a freshman who has been starting since the first game of the season. He plays outstanding defense and he has a beautiful swing. He has become more confident as he gains experience. We have promoted Will to leadoff hitter in our lineup.”
THIRD BASE – Josh Houle. “Josh is a senior in his third year with the varsity. He is very consistent with the glove and the bat. Josh can also pitch.”
LEFT FIELD – Brandon Perrico. “Brandon is a senior and three-year starter. He is the only left-handed hitter in our lineup and provides much-needed pop from that side of the plate. We usually bat Brandon either second or fifth, depending upon a variety of factors.”
CENTER FIELD – Kevin Reyes. “Kevin is a senior who brings the intangibles to our team. He was all-division last year and this year. He has a charismatic approach to practice and games. He is always smiling and getting the other players to laugh and enjoy the game. He is the soul of our team.”
RIGHT FIELD – Brandon Rainville. “Brandon is a sophomore who earned his starting spot about halfway through the season. He is an infielder who converted to the outfield because we needed to get his bat into the lineup.”
DH – Perrico and Kory Lawrence have split this job until recently, when freshman Victor Hunt got some at-bats and began lacing hits all over the field. “It’s going to be tough to get Victor out of the lineup,” Marsella said.
PITCHER – Kory Lawrence. “Kory is our No. 1 pitcher. The only game he lost was the opener to Johnston. He had an ERA under 1.00 this season and was named the best pitcher in our division. He also led the team in extra base hits and on-base percentage. But Kory pitched Sunday against Ponaganset. Perrico is our most well-rested pitcher.”
Regardless of who starts at pitcher for Woonsocket on Wednesday – Perrico or Lawrence – the other fellow will be in the lineup.