Warwick Continental American fell to Smithfield by a final score of 7-4 in seven innings during the 8-10 year-old baseball state tournament loser’s bracket final at the John H. Chafee Athletic & Recreation Complex on Tuesday night.
Braiden Sawyer started on the bump for WCA and tossed five solid frames where he yielded just two earned runs and gave up seven hits and three walks with one strikeout.
Wyatt Speakman threw for Smithfield and pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up nine hits, but allowed just one earned run and struck out two while walking two and earning the win.
Smithfield’s attack was led by Luke Dwyer, who went 3-for-4 and scored two runs while his teammate Colin Goding added two hits, two RBI, and walked twice.
Manny Loud topped the WCA offense earning two walks, a hit, plus an RBI, with a run scored, and Sawyer supplied two hits and an RBI, while Chase Prata added two hits and Timothy Blackwood, a hit and an RBI.
“It was a great back-and-forth game,” WCA manager John Wheeler said. “They fought hard. Both teams wanted it. It’s the game of baseball, one team wins, and one team loses. So, we came up on the losing end tonight, but I couldn’t have asked for a better season and I’m super proud of the kids.”
Smithfield’s Dwyer sent the first pitch of the contest to center field for a lead-off single.
Then, the No. 2 batter, Nate Cameron followed with a single of his own to center field and that put runners on first and second.
Next, Goding, the cleanup hitter, launched a one-out single to left field, which helped Dwyer score from second after an error on the throw back into the infield, and that gave Smithfield a 1-0 lead.
WCA evened the score at 1 during the bottom of the first when Ryan Santo, who earned a lead-off walk, scored from third base during a passed ball.
Then, with the bases loaded, Blackwood rocketed a shot off the glove of the Smithfield shortstop and that drove in Loud and gave WCA a 2-1 advantage.
Next, Sawyer hit an infield RBI single and scored Jack Proulx from third base, which gave WCA a 3-1 buffer.
In the third inning, Smithfield’s Speakman slammed an RBI single and scored Goding and pulled Smithfield within one at 3-2.
Then, with the bases filled, Speakman scored on a passed ball and knotted the score at 3.
WCA drew a 4-3 edge in the fifth frame when, after a lead-off triple from Nick Andruchow, Loud drove in the catcher with a ground ball.
WCA took that lead into the top of the sixth inning and Sawyer entered the frame with 74 pitches.
The Little League pitch count is set at 75, but if a player enters an inning with 74 pitches tossed, he is allowed to exceed the 75 threshold only to finish the one batter. Then he must be replaced.
Sawyer hit Dwyer with a pitch, and then WCA brought in the left-handed Braeden Geer in relief.
WCA recorded two quick outs when Geer induced Cameron into a ground ball out before WCA caught Dwyer in a pickle between second and third base for the second out.
But then, Tucker Byrnes blasted a single to right field before Geer walked both Goding and Noah Antunes, which loaded the bases.
Next, Speakman launched an RBI single past the first baseman and drove in Byrnes, which tied the game at 4.
WCA got the third out when it gunned down Goding at home plate, who was trying to score the go-ahead run immediately after Byrnes.
In the seventh inning, Geer earned another two quick outs only to encounter trouble again.
It began when Trevor Sullivan blasted a rocket at the third baseman, who mishandled it, and that put a runner on first base.
Next, Dwyer belted a comebacker at Geer, who failed to make a play on the ball which put two runners on base.
Geer then walked Cameron and loaded the bases.
Byrnes hit an RBI single and brought home Nate Tremblay and gave Smithfield a 5-4 edge.
WCA brought on James Boughman to pitch and he gave up an RBI single to Goding, which scored Dwyer and extended the Smithfield advantage to 6-4.
With the bases still jammed, Boughman hit Cameron with a pitch, and that brought in Cameron from third base and put Smithfield up 7-4.
Despite the defeat, Wheeler was content with the fight he got out of his team during the contest.
“I think everyone gave it their best,” Wheeler said. “Our pitchers hit their spots for the most part. I just think in the end, it’s a six-inning game and when you’re playing as many games as we are in a row, you just run out of pitching a little bit. And every single kid that came out on the mound gave it their all and I’m super proud.”