PAWTUCKET — Pineview Big League skipper Joe Clark revels in this kind of problem.
Thanks to his club’s simplistic 10-1 victory over East Greenwich in the championship game of the R.I. Big League (15-18) All-Star Tournament at its President’s Field home on Sunday afternoon, Clark and Co. earned a berth in the U.S. Eastern Regional Big League tourney in Dover, Del., one that begins Saturday.
With the title, unbeaten Pineview qualified for its third straight regional event, but will need to raise approximately $5,000 to make the trek.
“The guys hope to leave on Friday, and – hopefully – we’re going,” Clark stated not long after his squad’s triumph. “If we make zero (dollars), maybe we won’t, but we really want to go and see what we can do.”
Recent Tolman High graduate Joey Fernandes scattered just four hits and two walks while whiffing seven to file the victory, while Central Falls’ grad Brandon Canuto hurled a flawless seventh. E.G. starter James Garnett had yielded only five hits and two runs with six walks and seven strikeouts in his 5 2/3-frame stint, but reliever Tom Lederer eventually took the loss.
Offensively, 2012 Tolman grad Zach Taber paced Pineview, going 2-for-3 with a grand slam, four RBI and two runs scored, while former Tiger teammates Carlos Sanabria (1-for-2 with a walk, run) and Corey Hughes (1-for-2, RBI, stolen bag) helped out.
Pineview took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second after Taber singled to center, robbed second and scored on Sanabria’s hit to the same field. E.G., however, knotted it in the fourth when Garnett ripped a two-out dinger to right-center.
The Pawtucketers notched what proved to be the game-clinching run in the sixth, after Alex Lopez and David Mejia both singled – causing Garnett to be relieved due to a 105-pitch count. Hughes immediately punched a hit to center to plate Lopez.
As for the seventh, Steve Otis walked and eventually hustled home on Chris Baldwin’s suicide-squeeze bunt, and the rally was on; several walks and hit batsmen later, Taber sealed the deal with the grand-slam “tater” to make it 10-1.
“I didn’t have to tell the kids anything beforehand,” Clark noted. “They knew what was at stake, and they knew Pineview always goes (to the Eastern Regional). I didn’t say a word; they just went out and did the job. It feels good to come out and win this one, and you expect to go (to Delaware) at this point. If you can’t, it’s a disappointment.”
Anyone interested in donating to Pineview’s cause may call Norm Clark (the head coach’s dad) at (401) 374-8380.