’Canes fall flat in playoff opening loss
The highlight of Saturday’s game for the Warwick Vets baseball team was getting two runners on base in the first inning, neither of which scored.
It was that bad for the ’Canes.
Playing No. 2 overall seed Tolman in the first game of the double-elimination Division II playoffs, 15th-seeded Vets lost 10-0 in a mercy-rule shortened game that lasted only five innings. It was not the start to the postseason that the ’Canes had envisioned.
“We play better one game, then we come out today and we have three dropped balls in the outfield, a misplayed ball at third base, two errors in the third, a misplayed pop-up over here, leadoff walks,” Vets head coach Nolan Landy said. “All facets of our game today weren’t good.”
Because of the loss, Vets is now on the brink of elimination. It is scheduled to play today on the road against Ponaganset at 4 p.m., with the loser of that game to be eliminated from the postseason.
Ponaganset is the No. 10 overall seed and is coming off of a 10-0 loss to Narragansett.
“We’re going to come back Tuesday and give our best effort,” Landy said.
The ’Canes will need to be better all over the diamond. They managed just four hits on Saturday, while committing six errors. Starting pitcher Danny Greaves lasted just one and two-thirds innings, allowing seven runs on five hits with five walks. It wasn’t exactly Greaves’ fault that he didn’t pitch too deep in to the game – only one of the runs he allowed was earned.
The Tigers banged out a total of nine hits in just four at-bats, and scored in every inning. Pitcher Carlos Sanabria faced just five batters over the minimum, while striking out three.
“We had decent at-bats,” Landy said. “In the end it wasn’t enough.”
Sanabria worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the first following a T.J. Boyajian single and a Greaves walk, and then the Tigers jumped out in front in the home half. Sanabria singled in Steve Otis and a second run came home on an error by shortstop Austin Lamaire. That made it 2-0, and it only got worse.
Greaves got two outs without allowing a run in the second – thanks in part to a botched suicide squeeze by Tolman – but he couldn’t manage to get the final out. He walked Nick Kempf on a 3-2 pitch, and then third baseman Pat Delsanto committed an error, allowing a run to score.
Two singles and a walk later, Greaves exited the game with his team down 5-0, and Shane Kittila took over on the mound. Kittila didn’t fare much better, giving up a walk and a hit to allow two inherited runners to score, before striking out Cory Hughes to end the inning.
Vets was down 7-0.
“It was a disappointing effort,” Landy said. “Defensively we killed ourselves, and it carried through the whole game.”
Tolman, which went 14-2 during the regular season, added another run in the third on an RBI double from Sanabria off Kittila, and it grabbed two more in the fourth inning off Adam Dorsey. An RBI single from Otis and an RBI double from Chris Baldwin did the damage.
Vets got a one-out single from Dorsey in the top of the fifth, but the next two men went down in order against Sanabria, ending the game.
“They’re a good team,” Landy said. “They hit the ball, they do things the right way. They’re upbeat and constantly in the game, and those are the kinds of things we try to instill with these guys.”
The ’Canes will now face an uphill climb to advance out of their four-team regional. If they win against Ponaganset, they’ll take on the loser of today’s Narragansett-Tolman game on the road on Friday. With a win there, Vets would go up against the winner of that Narragansett-Tolman game, and would need to beat that team twice to advance to the final four.
Essentially, Vets will need to win four consecutive games against teams that finished higher than it did in the standings.
“We will put a better foot forward,” Landy said.