Blunders on the base paths doomed Flood Auto in its first loss of the season on Saturday morning, a 3-2 defeat vs. West Warwick at Warwick Veterans Middle School.
Flood (3-1) stranded a staggering 12 runners in the Connie Mack League game, highlighted by leaving the bases loaded on three separate occasions.
It was a flipping of the script for West Warwick, which had stranded 23 runners over the course of back-to-back one-run losses against Chariho and Coventry this week.
“Flood just did what we did all week,” West Warwick manager Rich Grenier said after the game. “It’s nice to get a ‘W.’ We felt that we probably should have had one this week.”
West Warwick was outhit by Flood, 10-6, all of its hits coming in the first three innings.
In fact, West Warwick didn’t have a single base runner after the third. Flood’s pitchers combined to retire the final 13 West Warwick hitters of the game, including three perfect innings of relief from Christian Tejada – who struck out five of the nine batters he faced.
But, Flood couldn’t capitalize on Tejada’s brilliance, running into a double play in the fourth inning, seeing a runner picked off in the fifth and leaving the bases loaded for the third and final time in the sixth.
“We are what we are, we’re a young team with young guys,” Flood manager Bryan Leahey said after the game, unworried about the mistakes made by his team. “Everybody’s learning, some of the guys still have the jitters when they see a good pitcher out there.”
Matt Grenier went 2-for-3 out of the leadoff spot for West Warwick, each of his hits going for extra bases. He came around to score the game’s first run in the top of the first inning after hitting a leadoff triple, and broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the third with a leadoff double.
Mason Provoyer had what would stand as the game-winning hit later in the inning, as he singled home Nick Pecchia to make it 3-1 West Warwick.
Flood got a run back in the fifth inning, as Zach Furtado brought home Ty Bernal from second – a base which he stole – to make it 3-2. Jaden Rosi had been picked off first prior to Bernal’s plate appearance, where he walked.
“It’s stuff that’s going to go away eventually,” Leahey said of the base running mishaps. “They’re still working; there were a lot of positives from today, we’ve just got to keep moving forward.”
Josiah Johnson hit a lined shot to second base in the fourth inning, with speedster AJ Guindon (two steals in the game) on first after a single. Guindon was off running with the pitch, which was ultimately caught by the West Warwick second baseman, who fired on to first in plenty of time to double off Guindon.
Nick Coffey started for Flood, giving up three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out four.
Andrew D’Ambrosca, Alex Pedus and Provoyer all pitched for West Warwick, the trio combining to hold Flood to just the two runs. D’Ambrosca pitched the first three innings, followed by Pedus for two, while Provoyer came on for the save.
Provoyer quickly retired Bernal and Furtado to begin the seventh before giving up a two-out single to Tejada to put the tying run aboard. But, he settled down to strike out Alex Coutcher to end the game, giving West Warwick a surprise victory.
“We didn’t really expect to beat them today, but we got the timely hits when we needed them and we got some solid pitching today,” Richard Grenier said.