The Warwick Connie Mack team hasn’t always had its full roster at every game, and its lineup seems like it’s a revolving door, but there has been one constant all season long.
Warwick beat Diamond Baseball Academy 6-0 on Monday night to improve to 5-1 overall, which is good for a share of first place along with Cranston.
And Warwick has done it with a lot of unknowns. The majority of its team is comprised of players from Providence, and those players split their time between Connie Mack and other summer ball teams.
That’s made for quite a bit of uncertainty come game time, but Warwick has found a way thus far. Its only loss came in a 3-2 nailbiter to Cranston last Monday.
“I don’t mind if I don’t have my full team, but it’s tough when you only have nine guys,” Warwick manager Barry Lama said. “Tonight was 11, and it was good. The talent is there, and they seem to have good chemistry.”
It was on display on Monday, as Warwick got some big hits and worked its way out of jams in all seven innings to get the win.
Warwick pitcher Michael Evans kept Diamond off the board for the first three innings, as he got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the second and a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third.
Diamond pitcher and Toll Gate alum Kevin Sanda matched Evans, though, as he held Warwick scoreless through the first three innings as well.
But in the fourth, it all came together. Diego Campos pitched a scoreless inning for Warwick in the top half of the frame, and then in the bottom, Warwick’s first three batters reached on two walks and a single to load the bases with nobody out for Edward Suero.
Suero fell behind 1-and-2, but after battling back to a full count, he hit a long drive to left field that hit just shy of the wall, clearing the bases for a three-run triple.
“Edward hit that ball a long way,” Lama said. “I don’t know what the distance is here, but that would have gone out at most parks.”
Two pitches later, Suero came home on a wild pitch, giving Warwick a 4-0 lead.
“It seems like the last two games, runs came in bunches,” Lama said. “When we do hit, we’re getting them in bunches and scoring runs.”
Campos continued to pitch for Warwick, and he got out of a two-on, nobody out jam in the fifth by getting a pop-up from Sam Aikins and a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Barry Colbertt.
In the sixth, Campos worked around a one-out single by Tyler Schemick to strike out the side and keep Diamond without a run, and then he delivered the knockout blow at the plate.
With two outs and runners on second and third in the bottom of the sixth, Campos rocketed a double to center field off Colbertt, who started the inning, scoring both runners for the 6-0 lead. He nearly had a triple, but he slipped on the basepaths and had to retreat to second.
“As long as he doesn’t have to run the bases, he’s very good at everything else,” Lama joked of Campos.
Warwick brought on Tim Warner to pitch the final inning, and he retired the first two men on groundouts before Diamond loaded the bases on a hit, an error and a walk.
But Warner settled down, striking out Toll Gate’s Evan Stamps looking to end the game and finish the job.
Warner was the third Warwick pitcher on the day, as he, Campos and Evans combined on a five-hit shutout.
“Because they’re playing in those other leagues, it’s tough to get six or seven innings out of a kid,” Lama said. “But I would say out of the 17 guys, 12 or 13 of them have pitching experience. Which is a good thing.”
The team also won without arguably its best player, catcher Jonathan Salcedo, which was another good sign.
“Jonathan wasn’t here, so we proved we could win without him,” Lama said. “As long as we get a good mix of them here, and they play the way they’re playing now, I’m happy.”
Warwick’s next game is on Saturday, when it travels to play Providence at 10 a.m.