Warwick PAL rallied from three runs down to beat 365 Sports, 4-3, in Game 3 of their Connie Mack quarterfinal series on Sunday morning. Toll Gate senior Ryan Carlson blasted a bases-clearing double with two outs in the bottom of the fifth to put PAL on top for good.
PAL manager Mike Martin saw Carlson struggling at the plate and thought about pinch-hitting for him. However, in the end, the manager decided to stick with the slugger and it paid off.
“Coach pulled me aside and asked me if he should pinch-hit for me,” Carlson said. “I said it was his choice because I’ve been in a little bit of a slump.”
“Then, they questioned me and I told them I had it and then I just thought to myself, fouled off a couple foul balls and I knew I had it,” Carlson said. “I saw it come off the bat and I’m like, ‘that’s getting us the W today.’”
Martin was obviously happy he stuck with Carlson.
“Ryan is a very good hitter, but he’s been in a little bit of a slump, but you know what, we trust him,” Martin said. “He likes the ball high in the strike zone and you saw what he can do. The kid threw in his wheelhouse and there was nobody that was catching that. That was hit a long way.”
The victory moves Warwick on to the next round to play East Greenwich on Tuesday at Mickey Stevens starting at 5:30 p.m.
Warwick won the series opener 1-0 on Friday night during a pitchers’ duel between PAL’s Derek Lallo and 365 Sports’ Jacob Servant. Both hurlers went the distance with Lallo earning the victory, finishing with an impressive nine strikeouts in the shutout.
The lone run in the contest came during the bottom of the fifth after Dylan Bracken led off with a single to center. Martin brought in Damon Coleman to pinch-run and sent the speedster into scoring position with a steal. William Pariseau grounded out after that to move the runner to third. Then, Lallo used a squeeze play to drive in Coleman, putting PAL up 1-0.
Lallo stayed on the hill to close it out in the top of the seventh. After Cam Santerre reached base on an error at first, Lallo fanned both Servant and Amarante and got Connor Padovich to ground out to seal the win.
“You can’t say anything but good things about the kid.” Martin said of Lallo. “The kid battled. They had runners on in the first inning, second inning, and you know what, he just battled through it. He doesn’t get fazed. He doesn’t get rattled.”
PAL fell to 365 Sports by a score of 6-0 in Game 2 in Bristol before the rubber match at Mickey Stevens.
Carlson started on the mound in Game 3. The right-hander worked his way out of a jam after walking back-to-back batters to start the game. Warwick squandered a runner in the bottom of the first and a pair in the second.
With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the third, Caden Cabral used a bunt to drive in C.J. Casalino, giving 365 Sports a 1-0 advantage.
In the top of the fifth, 365 Sports added to its cushion. Carlson walked the first two hitters of the inning before Martin brought in Coleman to pitch. The right-handed reliever walked London Camelo to load the bases. After that, Cabral drove in a run on a ground ball out to make it 2-0. Then, Stew Kay followed it with a shot to right to bring home Joey Barter, giving 365 Sports a 3-0 edge.
With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Warwick got it all back and then some. First, Sean Blanchard and Cam Armenti worked back-to-back walks. Then, Andrew Ekroth put down a ground ball to the shortstop, who overthrew first base and Armenti scored on the error to pull PAL within 3-1. After that, Bracken walked to load the bases. That’s when Carlson hammered a double to deep center to drive in three runs and give PAL the 4-3 edge.
Coleman pitched a scoreless sixth, where he punched out Ryan Pires and Charlie Amarante.
In the top of the seventh, Coleman walked the leadoff hitter before Martin brought in William Martino to close it out, and the Pilgrim junior southpaw got Barter and Camelo to fly out before getting Cabral to ground out to end the game.
Martin and his assistant coach knew that their team would have an opportunity to rally at some point during the game.
“We had talked to them about it,” Martin said. “That we were going to get our chance. There was going to be an inning where we were going to get our chance.”
Martin emphasized just how tough of a challenge 365 Sports was for his squad.
“We had only scored one run in basically three and a half games up until that point,” Martin said. “That’s a very good team.”