LINCOLN -- Davies Tech head coach Scott Cooper and assistant Joe Handy have spent a lot of time working on their squad’s base-running skills over the past month or so, and it showed – and then some – on Monday afternoon.
The Patriots turned singles into doubles or more, robbed four bases and registered three runs on wild pitches to snag a 10-0 “mercy rule” victory over Bishop Keough at the Davies’ diamond.
“We haven’t been scoring as many runs as we’ve wanted to early in games, and we wanted to jump on them from the beginning,” stated Handy after the Patriots raised their league mark to a perfect 9-0 (9-1 overall). “We wanted our hitters to get on base, then be aggressive on the base paths. We definitely did that.
“We work on (being aggressive) all the time at practice, from the moment it begins until the moment it’s over. We’ve been hammering it home, ‘Take the extra base if it’s there!’ and we seem to have someone step up every game.
“Our bats were hot; we were right on the ball, and we had some nice hits,” he added.
When asked if Davies could maintain its undefeated streak down the road, Handy just grinned, “We take it one game at a time. That’s been our motto since Day One. We’re not looking ahead, mostly because we can’t. You don’t want to get distracted.”
Freshman Maddie Goodhart led the Patriots, going 3-for-3 with two stolen bags and two runs scored in a tilt umpires ended in the bottom of the sixth due to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s 10-run mercy regulation. With no one out, fellow frosh Victoria Lopes ripped a “walkoff” RBI single to right-center to plate Goodhart.
Lopes finished 2-for-4 with a double, two runs batted in and a pair of runs, while sophomore clean-up hitter Kassie Therrien went 1-for-1 with a walk, an RBI and two runs; and junior Ashley Cuccorelli 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs.
Goodhart, for the record, also whirled a superb two-hitter with three walks and nine strikeouts.
To her credit, freshman righty Gabrielle Cazzarro yielded only eight hits in her five-plus inning stint, though she did walk five, hit a batter and delivered four wild offerings. In addition, she whiffed a quartet.
The Pats took a 3-0 advantage in the back half of the first. Goodhart led off the frame with an infield single, then robbed second. Junior Kaitlin Flynn fanned for the first out, but Lopes scorched a double to the left-center gap to plate Goodhart, and raced to third on an infield throwing miscue.
After Therrien walked, Cazzarro’s initial wild pitch scored Lopes and moved Therrien to second, and she came in when senior Wilmarie Cruz grounded out, that resulting in another throwing error.
Davies opened the second with Goodhart reaching on a bloop hit, stealing second and taking third on Flynn’s sacrifice bunt, but Cazzarro got out of the frame unscathed.
The Koalas, meanwhile, posted their first hit when senior Nina Pina roped a ground single up the right-field line, but she was thrown out trying to get to third following classmate Julie Diaz’ groundout to third.
Immediately, Cazzarro walloped a triple to deep left, but senior batterymate Shataga Hilliard took a called third strike to end the possible rally.
The Pats mustered another two in the fourth. Leadoff batter Cuccorelli whacked a ground single up the middle, took second when junior Rosaliz Torres was hit by a pitch, and the two assembled a perfect double-steal. Cuccorelli hustled in on freshman Brittany Page’s groundout to second, and Torres scored on a second wild pitch.
Cooper’s crew manufactured a quartet in the fifth to, in essence, seal it. Lopes led off with a high fly to center, though it was dropped for the two-base miscue, and Therrien drove her in on softly-lined hit to right. On the same play, Therrien reached third on an infield throwing error to the plate, then scored on an errant pitch.
Cruz then walked, and Cuccorelli plated her with a double to left. The later then robbed third, and Torres’ groundout to the pitcher plated her for the 9-0 cushion.
That only set up Goodhart’s scoring the pivotal 10th run in the sixth. She singled to left and went to second on an outfield overthrow to the cutoff, reached third on a fourth wild pitch and scored on Lopes’ walkoff, line-drive hit to left.
“They were really aggressive on the base paths,” noted Keough head coach Jason Pina after his club dropped to 4-5 overall. “We were in the game for the first couple of innings, but we just made a few mistakes in the field. As far as them hitting the ball, it seemed they were bunting to reach base or to advance their base runners. We, on the other hand, had a few base running mistakes.
“Davies is one of the stronger teams in the division, and we played (defending D-III state champion) Central in our last game, so it’s a tough back-to-back,” he continued. “Still, I thought our girls have stepped it up the last two games.
“(Senior) Phalana Sarno played well (Monday), and we had other defensive players who made catches and other plays they weren’t making earlier in the season. (Fellow senior second baseman) Julie Diaz did a nice job of getting over to cover first, and Nia played well at short.”
Stated Handy: “We can’t take anyone lightly; that’s how we feel all the time. We’ve got to come to play, and play hard, every game.”