Sports editor emeritus
PAWTUCKET — The wind came howling in off Newport Avenue on Thursday afternoon, blowing straight across Bailey Field’s softball diamond in gusts approaching 30 miles per hour, as Bay View Academy and Tolman High squared off in a Division I matchup.
The Bengals proved oblivious to the conditions, excelling in the field and at the plate during a 12-3 victory over Tolman that evened their record at 2-2 on the season. Tolman, which lost its third game in a row, fell to 4-4.
“We’re focusing on team chemistry,” said Tolman assistant coach Jerry Sabatelli. “We moved a couple players around on defense. This is still a young team. We’re battling through a rough patch right now.”
Bay View, which finished third in the state last year, got a strong pitching performance from senior Lexi Santurri, who fanned seven batters and walked just one while going the distance.
“Lexi is in her second year as our regular pitcher,” Bay View coach Ken Moretti pointed out. “She pitched 146 innings last season. It’s good to have a senior out there on the mound. We have a young team around her. I thought the girls played great defense today. We came early and practiced for the wind and handled it really well.”
It was Tolman that seemed tentative on defense, watching a pair of fly balls blow back almost to the infield and fall in for base hits early in the going as Bay View jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third inning and doubled it to 8-0 after four innings.
The Bengals put their first three batters on base in the top of the third with a walk and two singles setting the stage. Gabby Conca singled for a 1-0 lead. Lexi Roda followed with another run-scoring base hit and then Haley LeComte singled with two outs to complete the splurge.
Bay View came back with four more in the fourth inning with Rodi’s triple the big blow.
Tolman only managed one baserunner in the first three innings, a single by Cris Chiaverini in the second inning. Chiaverini would get the next hit, a triple with two outs in the fourth inning. She scored after Emily Truesdale walked and then intentionally got herself into a rundown between first and second base, staying alive just long enough for Chiaverini to score.
The Tigers got two more runs in the fifth inning. Hannah Caliri singled and Jess Potter followed with a double. Brittany Baptista singled them home to make it a 10-3 game, as close as the Tigers would get. Santurri got the final seven outs in a row to seal the victory.
Chiaverini smoked a line drive to centerfield in the sixth inning, only to see Bay View’s LeComte track the ball down. The Tigers lost two other potential base hits to stellar defense by the Bengals.
“We hope to be among the top five teams in the state this year,” Bengals coach Moretti said after the game. His squad, beset by rainouts in April, has played four less league games than Tolman.
The Tigers, meanwhile, must get their act together soon. The first thing they need is for head coach Craig Giarrusso, who missed Thursday’s game due to minor surgery, to get back on the field. The schedule doesn’t have any letup for Tolman, which visits Coventry, 4-2 so far, next Tuesday and then hosts Cumberland, 5-2, next Thursday. Tolman completes the rugged week with a road game at La Salle Academy two Saturdays from now.