The Warwick American 12-year-old all-star team wasn’t happy with its performance on Saturday in an 11-1, tournament-opening loss to East Greenwich.
On Sunday, American corrected the mistakes and played better, but still nothing seemed to go its way.
The end result was a tough, 5-2 loss to North Kingstown. With the two defeats, American was eliminated from the District 3 Tournament.
“Yesterday, we had a bad day,” American head coach Gary Pelliccio said after Sunday’s game. “We didn’t play our best. Today, we gave it our all but they just came out a little better than we did.”
American hit the ball hard against North Kingstown starter Jeff Tully, but more often than not a North player was there to make the play.
In all, American had seven hits, but it also left seven runners on base.
“That’s all you can do – put the ball in play and hope for the best from there,” Pelliccio said.
American jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, as starting pitcher Jake Langevin singled, advanced to third on a North Kingstown error and then scored on a double by Robert Thuotte.
But American never led again.
After Langevin retired two of the first three batters in the bottom of the first, North Kingstown tied the game on a strikeout that got past the catcher and allowed a runner to trot home from third.
The strikeout would have been the final out of the inning.
“You just have to play your hardest and hope for the best,” Pelliccio said.
The next batter, Tully, singled to right, plating a second run for a 2-1 North Kingstown lead.
North Kingstown made it 4-1 in the second inning, as Eddie Cardarelli scored on a double steal and Danny Brown came home on an RBI groundout by David Murray.
Langevin did the job from there, allowing just one run the rest of the way – an unearned fourth-inning run thanks to two errors – but the offense couldn’t quite get in gear.
In the top of the third, on the heels of a 1-2-3 second, American loaded the bases with just one out. Langevin reached on an error, Matt Kazanjian singled and Thuotte singled as well.
Tully, though, bore down. He struck out Jake Brodeur and Tom DePetrillo back-to-back, ending the inning and keeping American from trimming the deficit.
“It happens,” Pelliccio said. “Team plays with a lot of heart. They played hard all the way from the beginning to the end.”
American stranded Andrew Canning at second base in the fourth inning after a leadoff double, but it did get a little closer in the fifth inning.
Langevin, leading off the frame, hit a long home run to right-center field on the second pitch of the at-bat. That made it 5-2.
“That was great,” Pelliccio said. “He’s hit a couple this year, and we’re really proud of him. That couldn’t have happened at a better time. We were hoping it was going to spark the team a little.”
And for a while, it looked like the home run might be the start of a big rally. The next two batters made outs, but Brodeur and DePetrillo both reached base with two outs. Canning flew out to center after that, however, and North Kingstown remained in control.
In the sixth, American went down in order to end the game. Tully pitched 5.2 innings for North Kingstown before hitting his pitch count, but Russell Gaston got the final out without a problem.
Langevin pitched a complete game for American.
It was a quick and slightly disappointing end to American’s tournament, but there were no complaints about the effort. The team just came up a little bit short.
“We were hoping to go a little further,” Pelliccio said. “Looking at the team, we felt good. There’s a lot of good, solid baseball players on there. We were hoping to do a little better than we did.”
North Kingstown advanced to take on either Coventry National or Narragansett today at 5:30 p.m.