NEFL drops opener to Collette

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NEFL couldn’t get its offense going in its American Senior Legion opener against Collette Post 10 at the University of Rhode Island on Thursday evening, striking out 13 times and recording just three hits in a 4-1 defeat.

Colin Gauthier started on the mound for Collette, and the southpaw found his groove right away. He struck out seven through the first three innings, ultimately fanning 11 over six innings of work while not allowing a hit until the fifth inning.

NEFL ace Dave Simmons was equally impressive in the early going. Simmons allowed just one unearned run, and he didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning. Because he was on a pitch count, Simmons came out after four innings, but he was very sharp. He struck out five and retired the first six batters he faced via ground ball outs.

“I was throwing good for CCRI, and then I just came here on no rest pretty much and just threw,” Simmons said of his first start of the summer with NEFL. “I feel like I’m going to have a good season, and I hope we get wins.”

After three and a half scoreless frames to start the game, Collette got a lift in the bottom of the fourth when NEFL made an error in the infield, allowing Patrick Fleming to scurry to second to start the inning.

Fleming then advanced to third on a single from Tyler Boisclair, putting two on with no one out.

Simmons nearly escaped the inning unscathed after recording back-to-back strikeouts, but Peter Spetelunas ripped a single up the middle to score Fleming and make it 1-0. It could have easily been 2-0, but centerfielder Evan O’Connor hosed Boisclair at the plate to end the inning.

Dave Defusco took over for Simmons on the mound in the fifth inning, but the sloppy defensive play didn’t subside. Collette tacked on two more unearned runs on an error and a wild pitch to take a 3-0 lead after five.

NEFL finally got to Gauthier in the sixth inning. Christian Sanchez drew a one-out walk, before Dan Pratt and Kevin Cox recorded back-to-back singles, with Cox’s base knock up the middle scoring Sanchez to trim the deficit to 3-1.

Collette answered right back in the bottom of the sixth on a bit of misfortune for NEFL. With the bases loaded and two outs, catcher’s interference was called, allowing the runner from third to trot home to push Collette’s lead back out to three at 4-1.

Josh Coleman drew a two-out walk in the top of the seventh for NEFL, but he didn’t advance any further as Collette nailed down the victory.

Pitching was certainly a bright spot for NEFL in the opener, but Simmons is confident that everything will come together as the team gets more games under its belt.

“We have good pitching and defense,” Simmons said. “Our offense isn’t that good right now because we’re just starting out, but we’re going to come together as a team and be one.”

NEFL was looking to bounce back against Gershkoff on Monday evening at Rhode Island College, but results were unavailable at press time. It will also be in action tonight, when it travels to Cardines Field in Newport to take on R&R Construction Post 7 at 7:30 p.m.

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