Despite an 8-2 loss to Coventry American in their District 3 Tournament opener on Saturday, the Warwick West Side 12-year-old all-stars still felt pretty good about their chances for a long run.
On Sunday, they showed why.
West Side headed across town and knocked off Warwick Continental 9-2 in a loser’s bracket game. Continental, which lost 10-7 to Wickford the day before, was eliminated. West Side moves on to host South Kingstown National on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
“I thought we played well on Saturday,” said West Side manager Mike Pariseau. “I give Coventry credit. We played a good game so going into Sunday, we didn’t really want to change anything. We just wanted the kids to keep playing solid baseball.”
That can be easier said than done on the big stage of the 12-year-old tournament, especially against a formidable foe. Many of this year’s Continental all-stars were on the team that won the 10-year-old district championship in 2011.
But West Side was undeterred.
“The kids were disappointed that they lost Saturday, but they felt they played well,” Pariseau said. “They came in confident. We got a couple of runs in the first inning and that got us going. We were able to build on it.”
Nick Laramee led the offensive attack with a two-run home run and Dan Cavanagh narrowly missed a home run himself.
Blake Roberge started for West Side and pitched into the sixth inning, holding down a Continental team that had pounded 11 hits, including a home run, against Wickford.
“He pitched a great game,” Pariseau said.
He also had some help from his defense. Will Martino played a solid center field, robbing Continental of a few extra-base hits. On the infield, Russ White made some key scoops at first base.
“They did hit the ball well – quite a few to the outfield, line drives,” Pariseau said. “We played good defense.”
Roberge reached the pitch-count limit in the sixth, but Martino picked up where he left off, retiring Continental in its last at-bat to seal the victory.
“It was a nice win,” Pariseau said. “We knew we had to win to keep it going so the kids were excited.”
West Side will now go up against South Kingstown National, who won its opener over Exeter/West Greenwich before a loss to Chariho in the winner’s bracket.
“Really, we’re just looking for more of the same,” Pariseau said. “We want to keep the bats hot because we’ve been hitting well. If we can make the routine plays on defense and not give teams extra outs, then I think our hitting is going to keep us in pretty good shape.”
Sunday’s loss sent the Continental stars to an early exit. Continental also lost its opener last year but came back to be one of the final six teams standing.
Before the loss to West Side, Continental found itself on the wrong end of a slugfest with Wickford. After Wickford jumped in front 4-0, Continental tied the game with two runs in the second and two more in the third.
But Wickford responded with back-to-back home runs in the fourth and tacked on a total of five runs to grab the big lead. Continental got a two-run home run by Kyle Hadfield to get back within striking distance but couldn’t get a final rally going.
“They’ve got a good hitting team,” said Continental manager Al Mann. “We know we can hit, too, but they took it to us.”
Robbie Petrarca, Michael Macchioni, Max Prescott, Will Waggoner, Jared Favino, Nick Cehelsky, Michael Murphy and Andrew Ekroth all had hits in the loss to Wickford.
Continental was hoping for a deeper run based on its past success, but it ran into two hot-hitting teams.
“We won the districts as 10’s and finished fourth last year,” Mann said. “I thought we had a good team but it just didn’t happen this year.”