By JON BAKER
LINCOLN -- Southpaw Kyle Marrapese hurled four-plus innings of superb relief and teammate Dominic Cunha went 2-for-2 with a double, walk, three RBI and two runs scored on Sunday night.
With that and more, the Lincoln All-Stars snatched an easier-than-expected 13-2 victory over Cumberland National in the R.I. Little League District IV Tournament’s title tilt at Randy Hien Field late Sunday night.
In the process, Lincoln inked its return to the state tourney, and will begin play on Saturday at Cranston Western’s home.
Marrapese, who came on for righty starter Cunha, yielded only two to reach – one on an error, the other Adam Bertherman’s fifth-inning single, while whiffing an incredible 11.
Skipper Matt Netto and Co. improved to 6-0 throughout the District IV event.
Lincoln, the visitors on this night, jumped out to a 1-0 cushion off of righty Joe Leonard when Connor Benbenek led off the second with an opposite-field homer over the fence in left. Two outs later, starter Dominic Cunha helped himself, crushing a 1-1 fastball at least 230 feet over the centerfield fence for another solo blast.
Manager Netto’s contingent opened the third when Aaron Desousa roped an opposite-field hit to left, and Dave Bordieri singled to center before both moved up on a wild pitch. Desousa hustled in on a passed ball.
CALL skipper Mike Collucci opted to replace Leonard with lefty Derek Knobloch, and he immediately whiffed massive No. 3 batter Steve Andrews. He, however, walked Braedon Carney, and Blake Zaniol pushed him to second on an infield hit before Knobloch issued another free bag to load the bases.
A walk to Cunha plated Marrapese, and – when pinch-hitter Pat Gribbin received a base-on-balls – Carney trotted home to give Lincoln a 6-0 advantage.
CALL sliced that deficit to 6-2 in the third when Adam Bertherman drew a leadoff walk and Knobloch drilled a two-run “tater” over the 217-foot sign in center. That spelled Cunha’s ouster, though reliever Kyle Marrapese fanned Tyler Bourque and Leonard. Aidan Bagley reached on an infield miscue, but he forced Reuben Hancock to ground to the hill to end that flurry.
Lincoln added two more in the fourth when Dave Bordieri walked and took second on a wild pitch. With one down, Knobloch issued another Ball Four before Marty Gaughan ripped a single to left.
The bags juiced, Zaniol’s bloop double to short left plated Bordieri and Marrapese, and Lincoln extended its lead to 8-2.
The Lincolnites added two more in the fifth (on Steve Andrews’ whooping two-run drive over the right-field wall, then notched three more in the sixth, courtesy of back-to-back doubles by Zaniol and Cunha.
Lincoln 024 223 -- 13 – 15 – 2
Cumberland American 002 000 -- 2 – 4 – 1
Dominic Cunha, Kyle Marrapese (3) and Connor Benbenek. Joe Leonard, Derek Knobloch (3), Tyler Bourque (4) and Reuben Hancock. 2B – Blake Zaniol 2, Cunha. HR – Benbenek, Cunha, Steve Andrews.