PAL ready for competitive Connie Mack season

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The Warwick PAL Connie Mack baseball team looks to be primed for another strong season this summer.

PAL has only taken the field for one game thus far, but it put forth an impressive showing, holding off last year’s champion Slocum, 5-4, on a walk-off single by Derek Lallo in the bottom of the seventh.

“I was presently surprised with our defense and pitching in the first game,” PAL head coach Mike Martin said.

Warwick isn’t armed with a ton of league experience, returning just three players who have played Connie Mack before, but it does have several talented, young players from local high school programs.

The three experienced players will be Pilgrim junior Sean Blanchard, Toll Gate junior Ryan Carlson and Exeter/West Greenwich senior Owen Kiernan, and Martin noted that there will be “a lot of expectations on those kids.”

Carlson, who played third base and pitched for the Titans this spring, took the ball for the first game against Slocum and went six innings while allowing just two earned runs.

Blanchard was a mainstay in the middle of the order for the Pats, and he should provide several big hits for PAL throughout the course of the summer.

A notable newcomer will be left-handed pitcher Will Martino, who just finished his sophomore season at Pilgrim, seeing a lot of innings for Nolan Landy’s varsity club. Fellow Pilgrim sophomores Mike Hampson and Andrew Merryfield will also be key contributors, as will Pilgrim’s Cameron Armenti, a shortstop, who impressed Martin in the first game.

“He’s a battler,” Martin said. “He has a lot of ability.”

Middle infielder Andrew Ekroth from Toll Gate will be a mainstay on the diamond, as well, and Exeter/West Greenwich sophomore pitcher Damon Coleman will also shoulder innings on the bump.

“We feel like we have a very good team. We’re happy with the 15 guys on our roster,” Martin said. “We have 15 good players, so we’re going to be relying on everybody.”

After its game Saturday got rained out, PAL will return to the field on Wednesday evening when it hosts the Cranston Dirtdawgs at Mickey Stevens at 5:30 p.m. Warwick will then travel to Hendricken to take on Flood Auto for a nine-inning game on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

If PAL can sustain the defensive play it showed in its first game, it has the potential to be a dangerous team come playoff time.

“I see us making the playoffs,” Martin said. “If you have pitching and defense, you can go deep in the Connie Mack playoffs.”

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