Flood Auto Group baseball fell to the La Salle Academy Rams 4-1 on Tuesday evening during Game 1 of the best-of-three R.I. Connie Mack Semifinal series at Bishop Hendricken’s Ray Pepin Field.
La Salle was paced by Kyle Palardy, who earned the win, and struck out eight while tossing a complete game and giving up just four hits.
While Palardy was exceptional, Flood manager Bryan Leahey felt his team had its share of opportunities.
“At this level, you’re always going to face tough pitchers,” Leahey said. “I think we had some chances today, we just didn’t put the ball in play. La Salle, they always have great players, regardless of what level they’re at. They came out with their game plan, they executed it to a T and they beat us. We’ve just got to tip our caps and get back to work tomorrow night at La Salle.”
Game 2 was at La Salle Academy on Wednesday, but the score was unavailable at press time. The result of the semifinal series will be in Tuesday’s paper.
Brenden McCaffrey started Game 1 for Flood and took the loss, pitching four innings and yielding four runs, (three earned), before Connor Kennedy came on in relief and threw three shutout innings and struck out two.
The Rams’ offense was paced by Jacob Gaudreau, who went 3-for-3 with two singles, and a triple, plus both Andrew Florio and Jack Gannon, who knocked in La Salle’s first two runs, which were all the Rams would need.
In the top of the first inning, La Salle’s Marcus Rodriguez hit a bloop one-out single into shallow left field.
Then, the left-handed Florio walloped an RBI double to deep right field and scored Rodriguez, putting the Rams on top 1-0.
After Florio stole third base, Gannon belted a sacrifice fly to right field and knocked him in, and extended the La Salle advantage to 2-0.
In the bottom of the first, Flood’s Cam Adamec smacked a one-out triple to deep right field.
Then, Rob Whalen, a catcher, drove Adamec in during a ground ball out to the shortstop and got Flood within 2-1.
But in the second frame, La Salle immediately put a runner in scoring position when John Nardolillo hit a lead-off single to center field before stealing both second and third base.
Next, Palardy helped his own cause when he socked an RBI single into shallow right field, driving in Nardolillo while increasing the Ram’s lead to 3-1.
Then, in the fourth frame, La Salle added on another run and went up 4-1 after Nardolillio, who singled, scored from third base during a passed ball.
Anthony Iamarone was set to start Game 2 for Flood at La Salle Academy on Wednesday evening.
According to Leahey, Flood’s manager, Iamarone, was a “gamer” and a “go-to-guy” last spring for the Hawks’ junior varsity team.
If Flood can prevail in that contest, they will force a pivotal Game 3 back at Ray Pepin Field on Thursday at 5 p.m.