PAWTUCKET — With a lazy fly ball to center field serving as the final out of Friday’s Division III contest, the Blackstone Valley Prep baseball achieved a significant milestone.
The program snagged its first win as an R.I. Interscholastic League participant after holding on for a 3-1 victory over host Shea High at Max Read Field. Had COVID-19 not struck last spring, BVP would have discarded the “rookie” tag that will follow them around no matter where they travel this spring.
To get a significant monkey off their back in the season’s second game – BVP dropped its season opener to Davies Tech earlier in the week – is an important step that head coach Ed Laskowski hopes is just the start of something promising.
“History-wise, it’s a good thing,” said Laskowski. “We’re still developing, but we battled. Tough game.”
BVP starter Chris Rodriguez reached the 110-pitch limit with one batter remaining. The best way to sum up Rodriguez’s outing is that it featured a little bit of everything during the 6.2 innings he was out there. The righty struck out nine, walked seven, and surrendered one run on two hits.
Senior Julian Aceituno faced one batter en route to picking up the save for the Pride.
“These kids have each other’s backs,” said Laskowski.
The three runs scored by the Pride were the result of a passed ball by the Raiders (in the first inning) and two errors committed by the home team in the fourth inning. BVP stranded 11 baserunners.
“We had some opportunities to push across more runs later in the game, but there are things we need to tighten up,” said Laskowski, referring to one of his baserunners getting picked off at third base. “As the season progresses and we’re able to hang in games, I’m confident that we have a shot to continue on come playoff time.”
Shea (0-4, Division III) left the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Four times, the Raiders had runners thrown out on the bases. Offensively, the lone bright spot was Natanael Gonzalez’s RBI single in the fourth.
“We had a couple of opportunities where we could have tied and possibly gone ahead, but unfortunately we didn’t,” said Shea head coach Dino Campopiano. “I thought the pitching and the defense were good, but we’ve got to hit the ball better.
“They’re working hard. They try. Right now, that’s the most important thing,” said Campopiano. “Every time we step on the field, we’re trying to see if we can get better. I believe that we are.”
A definite bright spot for Shea was the pitching turned in by freshman Carlos Carmona. He turned in four solid innings with six strikeouts compared to two walks. Carmona got out of a bases-loaded jam to end the second and stranded two more BVP runners in the fourth.
“That’s the second time he’s been on the mound. I thought he did a nice job,” said Campopiano.
Following Carmona to the hill was junior Anilton Semedo, who didn’t allow a run in three innings.
Michael Mendez and Nick Iannetta each went 2-for-3 to pace BVP’s attack. Behind the plate, Devin Casson threw out two would-be base stealers at second base.
“He plays a lot of baseball and has a cannon for an arm,” said Laskowski about Casson. “He calls a good game and controls the backstop. We’re very fortunate to have him back there.”
The same two teams will meet Monday at Max Read Field with BVP serving as the home team.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03