The Warwick PAL 14s were upended by North Providence-Smithfield, 10-0, in five innings during the opening round of the state tournament at Paine Field in Coventry on Sunday night.
Tyler Amore was chased from the mound during a rough second inning and reliever Jeremy Ashman came on to pitch the final four innings of the contest.
“He pitched his heart out,” Warwick PAL manager Michael Cook said of Ashman finishing the game. “He threw as hard as he could. We didn’t hit. We had the bases loaded and we didn’t knock anybody in. We played hard, but we didn’t get the hits, and if you don’t hit, you don’t win. It’s as simple as that.”
In the top of the first, Amore walked back-to-back hitters to load the bases with two outs. Fortunately for Warwick, Amore fanned Pasquale Ferrario to get out of the inning unscathed.
Julian Horan started on the bump for North Providence and pitched the entire game, earning six strikeouts. With one out, Warwick’s Jake Mullen blasted a double to center field. It was for naught, however, as Horan induced two ground ball outs from Amore and Jeremy Ashman after that to get out of the inning.
North Providence’s Joey Faioli led off the top of the second inning with a single to shallow left. Then, Chris Harvey crushed a pitch that went off the fence in left for a stand-up, RBI triple, putting North Providence up 1-0. Moments later, Harvey scored from third on a ball in the dirt to extend the lead to 2-0. Chris Coughlin laced a single by the shortstop after that. Then, Vinny Zullo followed with a single to right. With runners at the corners, Noah Campbell hit a rocket over the head of the second baseman, scoring Coughlin and making it 3-0.
That’s when Warwick brought in Ashman in relief, who inherited runners at second and third. Jeremy Gervais welcomed the new pitcher with a single to load the bases. Zullo would score from third on a passed ball, upping the edge to 4-0. After that, Horan reached via a walk to reload the bases. On a passed ball, Campbell scored from third, increasing the lead to 5-0. Ashman walked in a run next and North Providence held a 6-0 advantage after two innings.
Morris added to the cushion with two outs in the top of the third when he hit an RBI single to drive in Coughlin, increasing North Providence’s lead to 7-0.
Warwick looked like it finally had something brewing in the top of the fourth, but it couldn’t bring home any runs. First, Mullen hit a routine fly ball that was dropped by a charging left fielder. Next, Amore and Ashman reached with back-to-back singles to load the bases. However, Horan got Noah Sullivan to hit a comebacker to the mound, and the pitcher tossed out the runner at home to keep Warwick off the board. Then, Horan mowed down the rest of the order, striking out both John Procaccini and Mike DiComitis to get out of the inning without any damage.
In the fifth, North Providence would put the nail in the coffin. With one out, Campbell reached with an infield single. With two outs, Horan laced a shot to shallow left to score Campbell, increasing the North Providence edge to 8-0. Then, Morris stepped to the plate and walloped a home run over the tall fence in left field to put the icing on the cake, giving North Providence a 10-0 advantage.
Warwick would need to score a run in the bottom of the fifth if it was going to keep the game from ending early. North Providence had other plans. Horan struck out the first two batters that he faced. Then, Will Walaska reached with a walk and Mullen followed it with a single. But, Horan was able to get Amore to line out for the final out of the evening.
Warwick played its second game of the double-elimination tournament Monday evening against Aquidneck Island. The score was not available at press time.
“We’ll be back again tomorrow,” Cook said. “It just gets a little harder now. It’s still doable, it just gets a little harder though.”