The second night of the Red Andrews Tournament got off to a strange start when it was learned that Apponaug would not be participating. But it ended up being a good night anyway for the teams that did take the field.
St. Gregory’s made its Red Andrews debut and got its feet wet with the pressure off, having advanced automatically when Apponaug pulled out. Warwick National’s Red Andrews team, which happened to be practicing on the adjacent field, stepped in for Apponaug so that St. Greg’s could play. National had lost its tournament opener 10-0 the night before, but the impromptu game gave the team a chance to bounce back, which it did with a 7-6 victory.
All in all, it was a good tune-up for both.
“I thought the kids played well,” said St. Greg’s manager Dick Sinapi. “I was happy that they swung the bats and put the bat on the ball. We had some very good plays on defense and we had some not-so-good plays, so you kind of want to even that out. But it was a lot of fun and the kids played well. It was a beautiful night for baseball.”
National, which was slated to play a loser’s bracket game on Wednesday, gave itself a chance to bounce back even before that game when it stepped up to play Tuesday.
“Our kids try to refocus and they did,” said manager Chris Tanguay. “They bounced back and shook that loss off. Next game is a totally different game, and now we’re ready. So it was great for the kids. It builds that confidence up.”
St. Greg’s, which has never participated in the tournament, put its best foot forward to start, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Will Fox and Alex Sinapi had base hit before an RBI groundout by Mike Murphy and an RBI double by Connor Marot. Marot then stole third and raced home when the throw sailed into left field.
“Nice to start off with some runs on the board,” Dick Sinapi said.
St. Greg’s pitcher Aiden Areson struck out four in the first two innings, but National broke through in the third and tired the game. Nick Carparelli had an RBI single and Jameson Tanguay delivered a two-run double.
“To refocus after a loss and then fall down 3-0, it’s great to come back and get that win,” Chris Tanguay said. “It tells these kids they can bounce back. We’re a resilient team.”
St. Greg’s went back in front in the bottom of the third when Lucas Zelano walked, stole second and came around on an RBI groundout by Ryan Maxwell.
But National responded in the fourth. Three walks and two fielder’s choices left National with the bases loaded and two outs. The next batter, Will Morrissette, smashed a hard line drive to deep center field, and St. Greg’s couldn’t make the play. Three runs scored, and Morrissette later touched home on a singly by Andrew Merryfield.
St. Greg’s got two runs back in the fifth, with Murphy and Marot both racing home on a groundout, but reliever Steven O’Neil closed the door after that. He struck out the last batter in the fifth, then worked a one-two-three sixth – with some help from his defense.
The final out came when Zelano popped up a bunt. Catcher Daniel Tanguay hopped out of his crouch and made a full-extension, diving catch to end the game.
“That’s the defense that we’re trying to show,” Chris Tanguay said. “If you’re going to win a game, that’s an exciting way to finish it off.”
St. Greg’s also flashed some leather, with Murphy and Alex Sinapi turning a 4-6-3 double play and Will Fox making some key plays at third base.
St. Greg’s moves on to face Wickford in a winner’s bracket game on Tuesday. Wickford cruised past North Kingstown in its first-round game.
With Tuesday’s game under its belt, plus a scrimmage last week, St. Greg’s is ready to go.
“We had a practice game Saturday, and I think it was good to play that game,” Dick Sinapi said. “I think with two games under their belt, it’s a good way to go into the winner’s bracket.”