PAWTUCKET --- If Mount St. Charles learned anything about Tolman over the past six days, it’s that the Tigers have plenty of pitching to go around.
Less than a week after Carlos Sanabria blanked Mount on four hits, the Tigers topped the Mounties with another four-hitter on Monday afternoon – this time coming from starter Richie Marshall and reliever Joey Fernandes – and parlayed that with a 14-hit assault to beat their Division II-North opponent, 8-3, at Slater Park.
Number seven batter and shortstop Corey Hughes went 3-for-3 to lead the offense for the surging Tigers, who have now won nine in a row (seven in the league) to improve to 11-1 overall and 9-1 in division action and remain tied for first place with Scituate (also 9-1).
And while the Tigers have been winning, their pitching staff has been impressive. In the Tigers’ last seven league wins, Tolman has allowed just seven runs (four of them earned) and 27 hits.
In Monday’s win, Marshall won his third straight start by working the first five innings, striking out four, walking two batters, and allowing two hits, both of them one-out triples to Tate Laquerre and Nolan Hawyard that hit a pole on the outfield fence and ricocheted away from the Tigers’ outfielders.
Armed with a 6-1 lead, Marshall exited the game in the sixth after he hit the first batter he faced, Riley Young, with a pitch in the back and walked the next batter, Kevin Valentine. But Fernandes came in and ended the inning with a pair of grounders, the first one wiping out Valentine at second and the second resulting in a nicely-turned 4-6-3 double play.
“This was a good game for Richie,” noted Tolman head coach Theo Murray. “I told him I needed five innings out of him today and that’s what he gave me. And Joey’s been a good stopper for us. He’s come in into tight spots and gotten those ground balls for us.
“I had Carlos available for the seventh if we needed him. He got loose between the sixth and seventh, but I wanted to keep him fresh for our game Wednesday against Ponaganset and we were able to do that.”
Offensively, Hughes led a hit parade that also saw No. 9 batter Steve Otis go 2-for-3 with a two-run single in the second that made it a 4-0 game; Nick Kempf single, double, score a pair of runs, and drive in two, and Jason Maynard and Sanabria collect multiple hits.
“Our bats have been great,” offered Murray, whose team is averaging a shade under nine runs per game in their 10 league contests. “We’ve been hitting the ball well this year.”
Maynard led off the bottom of the first with a double, and after he went to third on a wild pitch by Valentine (Mount’s starter), he dashed home on an infield hit by Kempf – one of five hits by the Tigers that didn’t reach the outfield grass.
Nate Gagnon later knocked in Kempf with a sacrifice fly to right field, and in the second, Otis came through with his big hit, a sharp single that went by the dive of third baseman Michael Dixon and down the left-field line and plated Hughes and Anthony DiBiasio.
Back-to-back, run-scoring doubles into the gap in left-center by Fernandes and Hughes in the third made it a 6-0 game, and after the Mounties scored an unearned run in the fourth, Tolman scored its final two runs in the sixth on a run-scoring double to right by Kempf and an infield error.
Down, but not out, the visitors made things interesting in the final inning by scoring two runs with the aid of a double to right by Lataille, a run-scoring single by Young, and three walks. They had the bases full and the tying run on deck, but Fernandes ended the drama and the game with a groundout.
“This was a good win,” said Murray. “Mount’s a good team, and it’s tough to beat a team in our division twice in a year. We just had them at their place last week.”
The Mounties, one of the youngest teams in the entire league with primarily sophomores and juniors, fell back to .500 in league play (5-5) and overall (6-6).
“I like our team,” added Mount head coach Tom Seaver, whose team will visit Smithfield in its next game on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s a young team, but they keep fighting, and that’s all we can ask for.”
The Tigers’ next two games (both west on Route 6) promise to be challenging ones. Not only will they get a tough test from the Chieftains, who are 6-3, but next Monday, they will clash with Scituate at the Spartans’ Manning Field. Scituate handed Tolman its lone loss of the season, 10-1, back on April 18 at Slater Park.