Warwick Continental American came back from down 5-0 to beat South Kingstown Little League 10-5 during the opening round of the 12s District 3 double-elimination tournament.
“We’re a resilient team,” WCA manager David Tober said. “That’s our first game. We’ve been practicing for a month. We’ve been dealing with weather, and we’ve been dealing with having some great practices and some not so great practices. We had three scrimmages against very good teams in the state, two of them, we played very well, the third we didn’t play well.”
“So, we’re just kind of finding out who we are,” Tober said. “We got down 5-0 quick, and then we found out who we were. We held back and scored ten unanswered runs to beat a very, very good South Kingstown team. So, it’s a good step 1 for us. Winning the first game in the districts is very important. You stay out of the loser’s bracket. So, it took us three days to get there, but I’m happy with the way we finished it out.”
The game, which was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, was postponed until Sunday at 2 p.m. following a minor thunderstorm, and then on Sunday the game was interrupted during the bottom of the fourth with the score tied at 5 and it didn’t resume again until Monday at 6:30 p.m.
The contest was delayed while the WCA bats were still blazing hot, but Tober wasn’t worried about his team losing any steam from the previous day.
“Nah,” Tober said. “It’s a clean slate. I just feel like we’ve got a resilient bunch. We’ve got kids who way back when we had a 9-year-old all-stars, they won everything. And then, we’ve had two years where we haven’t been able to get out of the districts.”
“So, it’s just the kid’s work hard,” Tober explained. “They play together during the season, they play together in AAU and they know how to play together. And I’m proud of the effort and the resiliency. And it took everybody. We didn’t win this game with one or two guys, it took the entire team and that’s an important first win for us.”
Nolan Canestrari got the start on the bump for WCA where he tossed four innings and struck out two while Jonah Monnes started for South Kingstown and pitched 2.1 innings and struck out three.
South Kingstown scored the first run of the game in the top of the second inning when Brayden Rosen rocketed an infield RBI single off the glove of the first baseman and scored Matt Chofay, which made it 1-0.
Then, in the third, South Kingstown tacked on four more runs.
First, Nolan Rodman, who came on to pinch-hit, led off with an infield hit.
Next, Monnes launched a double to right-center, which put runners at second and third with none out.
Then, Gian Lepore crushed a 2-run triple off the top of the wall in center field and extended the South Kingstown edge to 3-0.
After that, Jordan Chaloux earned a walk, and then South Kingstown executed a double-steal, which scored Lepore from third and made it 4-0.
Finally, Griffin Sward hit a bloop single to center and drove in Chaloux from second, and that put South Kingstown up 5-0.
WCA got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third when with the bases loaded, South Kingstown elected to intentionally walk Canestrari and that pulled WCA within 5-1.
Next, Liam Budz made South Kingstown pay for pitching to him when he blasted a 3-run double to deep center, which scored James Tillinghast, Karl Swanson and Mike Tober and got WCA within 5-4.
That is when South Kingstown pulled Monnes after 62 pitches and brought on Chaloux to deal.
Swanson greeted the new pitcher with a fly ball to right-center, which was dropped by the outfielder and that allowed Budz to score from second, tying the game at 5.
Then, with runners at first and second, South Kingstown’s Chaloux struck out Jonah LaFauci before inducing a ground ball out from Alex Arnold, and that kept the score deadlocked at 5.
South Kingstown had a chance to get a run in the top of the fourth, when Ben Davis sent a one-out single to center and stole second before taking third on a wild pitch.
But with runners at the corners, Lepore hit a comebacker at the pitcher, who went to home plate and gunned down Davis.
Then, with two down and runners at first and second, Chaloux flew out to center for the last out.
In the bottom of the fourth, WCA’s Tillinghast hit a shot at the pitcher, who failed to bare hand it and that put a runner on first.
Next, Mike Tober popped out for the second out.
The game was postponed at this point with Canestrari in the batter’s box.
The game would resume the next day at 6:30 pm and when Canestrari finally got to bat, he delivered an RBI single to right, which scored Tillinghast and put WCA on top 6-5.
Then, in the fifth, WCA added to its cushion.
With runners at first and second, Alex Arnold crushed an RBI double to center field and scored Swanson and extended the WCA lead to 7-5.
Then, Tillinghast belted a 2-run triple to deep right field, which scored both Arnold and Ben Diaz and ballooned the WCA lead to 9-5.
Lastly, Tober sent an RBI triple to right field and that scored Tillinghast and gave WCA a 10-5 buffer.
Next, WCA will face off against crosstown rival Warwick North next Saturday at D’Abrosca Field at 5 p.m.