WOONSOCKET — Perhaps the only statistic Lincoln High skipper Andy Hallam didn’t like on Wednesday afternoon came in the “LOB” category.
The Lions may have stranded 11 base-runners, but everything else went the Lions’ way in a 6-0 taming of Division I-North foe Woonsocket in the chilly drizzle and wind at Barry Field.
Senior southpaw Andrew Veiga whirled a stupendous, complete-game two-hitter with a mere walk and a whopping 13 strikeouts in keeping the Villa Novans at bay; actually, he surrendered only nine batted balls the entire contest.
To add insult to the hosts, he also pounded two triples while going 2-for-2 (with two walks), plated a pair and scored twice as Lincoln improved to 8-6 in league play.
“What an outing he had,” Hallam stated after the tilt. “He’s a very talented left-hander. He just wants the ball; he’s tough. He’s one of the better pitchers I’ve seen in all the years I’ve coached, and he’s a nice kid, too.
“Andrew has been a big lift to our lineup since coming back from his transfer hiatus,” he added, referring to Veiga’s eight-game Interscholastic League suspension after transferring from St. Raphael this academic year. “Our lineup is pretty good as it is, but to be able to put him in the third spot has been huge.”
Still, Veiga had plenty of help from his teammates, as sophomore Justin Conti went 2-for-2 with a double, walk and run; senior Nick Zammarelli 1-for-3 with a triple, two walks (one intentionally) and a pair of runs; classmate Steve McManus 2-for-3 with a two-bagger, RBI and run; and junior Sam Brito 1-for-4 with an RBI and stolen bag.
Junior righty Jon Flynn took the loss for the Novans; he surrendered only three hits in his 3 1/3-frame stint, but also yielded three earned runs and six walks while fanning a pair.
“(Veiga) did a very nice job; he’s one of the better pitchers we’ve faced this season,” stated Woonsocket head coach John Marsella, whose bunch fell to 5-8 in league action. “He throws from the other side of the rubber, and that’s something our batters don’t see enough of. He just hit his spots … I thought Jon (Flynn) did a nice job. He (sustained) a back injury last week, and I didn’t want him to go too long.
“We were just overmatched (Wednesday).”
The Lions manufactured the only run it would need on this day in the top of the first inning. Flynn walked leadoff batter Zammarelli, and – with one out – Veiga drilled an opposite-field triple off the left-field fence (yes, the wind was blowing out) to plate him.
Senior Brandon Rainville poked a bloop, one-out hit to center in the back half, though Veiga struck out Flynn and designated hitter Matt Lefebvre to end the threat.
It looked like the visitors would extend that lead in the second when Conti roped a one-out double to left and Jeff Sheehan walked, but Flynn fanned Zammarelli and forced Brito to fly to right.
Lincoln mustered a couple more in the third after Veiga initiated the flurry with a base-on-balls, and – with one down – raced home on McManus’ double off the fence in left. McManus later robbed third, then scored on junior Alec Cronan’s sacrifice fly to center.
Veiga also allowed Rainville another bloop single, this time with two down, in the third, though nothing came of it.
As for the fourth, Flynn walked both Conti and Sheehan to open the inning, but forced Zammarelli to fly to deep center, one in which Conti tagged to third. Marsella opted to replace his starter with sophomore righty Miguel Raymond, and he immediately gave up to Brito a softly-lined hit; that scored Conti with ease and gave the Lions a 4-0 cushion.
Lincoln mustered two more in the sixth after Zammarelli delivered an opposite-field two-bagger that one-hopped the fence in left, took third on Brito’s ground out to Raymond and scored on Veiga’s second triple of the game.
As Veiga slid into the bag, the relay throw sailed over Alex Denoyelle’s head and past the back-up Raymond, and he trotted home with ease.
“This is two in a row for us right now, and I’m hoping it will spark some momentum,” Hallam offered. “It seems every time we get a couple of wins, we get derailed. We’re trying to treat every game like it’s the biggest of the year. I’m just hoping we can continue this surge.”
Lincoln will travel to Johnston for another I-North clash at 3:30 p.m., Friday, while the Novans will bus to Cumberland on Saturday for a 3 p.m. start.