NEFL sweeps Gershkoff in season opener

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Warwick’s NEFL/ Post 101 opened up its season with a sweep of Cranston, Auburn Post 20, Gershkoff Auto Body during an American Legion baseball doubleheader at Cranston Stadium on Friday evening.

NEFL won the first game 3-2 and the second, 13-5.

Pilgrim graduate Tyler Parks started the first game on the bump for NEFL and earned the win, fanning four over five innings and Blake Roberge closed out the game with three strikeouts in two innings of relief.

In that contest, NEFL scored the game-winning run in the top of the sixth when North Kingstown’s Geoff Coyne belted an RBI single to right, which scored Roberge.

The other two NEFL runs came in on hits from A.J. Ucci, and Tyler Amore, and Jack Gannon added two hits.

On the other side, Gershkoff got a complete-game effort from starting pitcher Seth Daly, who struck out nine, and on offense, Auburn was topped by Andrew Clesas, who hit two singles, and Celeb Harris, who added a triple.

“I like the life,” NEFL manager Mike Fratus said following the first game of the doubleheader. “I think we played okay defense. We hit the ball early and then, we kind of went stagnant and then, it came on again late.”

Fratus believes that, much like last summer, his club has the ability to shut down that bats of the opposition.

“I feel like again, we have a good defensive team this year and we have good pitching,” Fratus said. “We have a good core of young guys on this team. We’ve got some good veterans and some young guys.”

And the manager was pleased with how they performed in the first game.

“Our pitching threw well,” Fratus said. “Tyler Parks threw great and Blake Roberge came in and shut the door. We squeaked a run out in the sixth inning and that’s what we needed.”

Fratus hopes that NEFL can continue its hot start as the young season moves along.

“I feel good about it,” Fratus said. “You know baseball. It has a life of its own sometimes. So, we’ve got a team that can go get it and if we come ready to play I think we can compete against anybody.”

Last season, Gershkoff got the best of NEFL, so Fratus and company were thrilled to get the first game of the doubleheader.

“They beat us three times last year, so it’s good to get a W against them,” Fratus said. “Especially to get the first one.

In Game 2, NEFL scored 11 runs during the first three innings and ran away with the 13-5 victory.

During that contest, Andrew Merryfield, drove in three runs for NEFL while teammates Christian Rapoza and Evan O’Connor added two RBI each.

Gershkoff were headed by Evan Degaitas, who had three hits, plus two RBI, and Noah Cook, who had two hits.

NEFL takes its 2-0 record to Lincoln on Tuesday where it battles Upper Deck.  

Gershkoff coach Dave Schiappa was not worried about his club’s slow start as he believes the boys just need a little more time to jell.

“It’s the first time we were together the other night,” Schiappa explained. “This team got together late because they were still playing high school and stuff. So, we’re just starting to get into the groove. We’ll be fine. I’m not concerned about the team because we have a good team.”

Next, Gershkoff will host the Itri Square Cranston Classic Tournament from June 20-23. Then, June 27-30, Gershkoff will take flight to Anchorage, Alaska to play in the BP Invitational before traveling to Kenai, Alaska to play in the Big Miller Big Fish Tournament.

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