The Pilgrim softball team traveled to East Greenwich to face the 9-1 defending Division II champions last Thursday. The Patriots couldn’t scrape together a second run against East Greenwich, and fell 2-1 to the Avengers.
The defeat marked the Pats’ second loss in as many meetings with East Greenwich.
Carly Cabral and Avengers’ captain Molli Anderson were both strong on the mound, especially early, as both pitchers worked around leadoff doubles in the opening frame.
Cabral was the first to flinch in the bottom of the second, surrendering the game’s first run. Laren Duvall led off the inning with a single and was bunted all the way over to third by Karen Lockhart. Keri Pallister then came up with a clutch double to left with two outs, giving East Greenwich a 1-0 lead.
The Pats got into some trouble again in the fourth, when Anderson reached and advanced to second on a throwing error by shortstop Katelyn Reph. Alexandra Place followed with a single, advancing Anderson to third. Anderson then scored on an RBI groundout by Brooke Andreozzi, stretching the Avenger lead to 2-0.
Between innings the Pats had a team meeting outside the dugout. Their intensity and focus seemed to improve for the remainder of the game, especially on the part of Cabral, who allowed only two hits in the final four innings.
“They score a ton of runs,” Pilgrim head coach Bill Aquilante said. “And Carly holding them to two today was a phenomenal job. I’m really proud of her.”
Pilgrim struck back in the top of the fourth, when Lauren Peladeau hit a two-out RBI single to right, scoring Cabral and bringing the Pats within a run.
The Pats had multiple base runners in the fifth and seventh innings, but could not come up with the clutch hit they needed to tie the game up. Place made spectacular catches in right field for East Greenwich during Pilgrim’s late-inning comeback attempts, preserving and eventually capturing the victory with her backpedaling catch to end the game with two runners in scoring position.
“Alex played an unbelievable game in the field today,” East Greenwich head coach Robert Petrucci said. “So proud of that kid.”
The Avengers improved to 10-1 on the season and look poised to make a run at consecutive division titles.
“So far so good,” Petrucci said. “But we are back in division play now and anything can happen. Pilgrim has four losses, West Warwick has two, and Cranston East has three. It’s a tough division. And Pilgrim is a quality team. Last year they nipped us twice. This year we were fortunate to take this one. They’re a tough team and we know we will probably end up seeing them in the playoffs/”
Pilgrim fell to 8-4 with the loss, but the Pats gave the top team in Division II a run for their money.
“We fought and that was a game that could have gone either way,” Aquilante said.
The Pats will look to rebound from Thursday’s loss when they host Cranston East today at 3:30 p.m.