After two games in the 9/10-year-old State Softball Tournament, the Warwick West Side all-stars have had ups and downs – but they’re still alive.
West Side picked up a victory in its first game with a 10-8 win over Elmwood on Saturday. In the winner’s bracket final on Sunday, though, West Side was beaten 14-4 by Cumberland to fall into the loser’s bracket.
“We’ll get our confidence back,” West Side manager Frank Brown said. “We’ll get back on track. It’s an experience. Whenever you’re dealing with nine or 10-year-old girls, it’s an experience. Everything is an experience, winning or losing.”
The first of those experiences was a win, and it gave West Side some breathing room in the four-team tournament.
Emma Hlavacek was strong on the mound, allowing just three runs. She split the duties with Kara Quinn.
“Emma actually only allowed three runs,” Brown said. “She pitched very good.”
The offense also held up its end of the bargain, especially early on.
With Olivia King, Karly Evans and Katrina Kazen handling the bulk of the load, West Side scored nine of its 10 runs in the first two innings to take a 9-4 lead.
From there, the offense slowed down, but it had enough of a cushion to finish the job, despite a late Elmwood rally.
“We jumped out to a quick start,” Brown said. “We scored nine of 10 runs in the first two innings. We then got a little impatient with swinging. But we were able to hold on.”
In Sunday’s second game, everything didn’t go quite as smoothly.
West Side was up against Cumberland pitcher Alex Pina, who threw significantly harder than Elmwood’s pitchers.
The West Side all-stars tried to deal with Pina’s speed, but they had a hard time getting the bat on the ball.
“They were a little intimidated,” Brown said. “They were definitely a little intimidated. We knew what we were going to face. We had scouted them a little. We knew we were going to face good pitching. We planned on being patient and putting the ball in play by bunting and playing small ball. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get it down.”
West Side went down 1-2-3 in the first inning, all on strikeouts, before rallying to score once in the second and three times in the third on hits by Kazen and Evans.
With the score 8-4 after the fourth, though, everything started to come undone.
Cumberland began to put the ball in play against Kazen, and the team struggled to make the plays.
“The wheels came off,” Brown said. “As soon as they put the ball in play, we just couldn’t execute.”
When it was all said and done, Cumberland had scored six times in the bottom of the fifth, ending the game due to the 10-run mercy rule.
It was a disappointing loss, especially after the win against Elmwood.
“Being the first loss, it was very difficult for them,” Brown said.
While West Side is now only one loss from elimination, it will have an opportunity to advance into the championship with a win today against Barrington at Woonsocket’s Menard Field. That game will take place at 5:30 p.m.
Barrington is coming off a 24-22 victory over Elmwood on Sunday, in which Barrington scored eight times in the sixth inning to pick up the win and eliminate Elmwood.
“We saw (Barrington) play yesterday,” Brown said. “It was a little different style of play than what we saw with Cumberland. Our approach will be the same as it was always been – try to hit the ball hard on offense.”
Kazen will be back on the mound for West Side.
“I think we’ll rebound,” Brown said.