The Johnston Panthers were taken out by the East Providence Townies, 7-3, at Pierce Memorial Stadium on Monday. East Providence freshman Cole Poissant had two hits and three RBIs.
Johnston led 3-0 after one and a half innings, but it couldn’t hold on.
“Everything changes when you’re batting from behind,” Johnston head coach Joseph Acciardo said. “You’re down by three, four runs and it’s not like you’re going to bunt one guy over. You got to try to hit. Then you have to put a bunch of hits together and that’s something that we haven’t been doing right along. But, originally we were right there. In the beginning of the game is when you’re up. You got to stay up.”
The Panthers finished with five hits and East Providence had 10.
Sophomore Matt Loffredo was the starting pitcher for Johnston, going 3 1/3 innings and yielding seven earned runs while striking out two. Sophomore Seth Daly pitched for East Providence, yielding three runs over four innings while striking out five.
The first batter of the game, Johnston lefty Dante Parisi, reached second base after his hit to centerfield was dropped. But, Parisi would get thrown out during a fielder’s choice moments later. With one down and Zack Clesas at first, junior Frank Heredia hit an RBI double to score Clesas, giving Johnston an early 1-0 lead. With runners at first and second, Dylan Lavoie fouled out to first and Daly struck out Nate Fortier to end the top half of the inning without any further damage.
In the bottom of the inning, Loffredo struck out the leadoff hitter, Josh Silveira, on just three pitches. Daly would earn a hit next, but Loffredo would get the third and fourth hitters to fly out to end the first inning.
Johnston sophomore Alex Rodriguez led off the top of the second inning with a base hit. Next, Chris Batista followed it with a single. Then, sophomore catcher Andrew Clesas loaded the bases when he reached first with a bunt. Moments later, Rodriguez was picked off at third. Next, Daly struck out Parisi. With two down, Zack Clesas hit a double to centerfield to score two runs, putting Johnston up 3-0.
With one out in the bottom of the second inning, East Providence’s Andrew Rodriques hit a fly ball over the head of the centerfielder, Dante DeFalco, for a double. Next, Poissant walked and Rodriques stole third. Then, Zach Fanara hit a base hit to score Rodriques, pulling East Providence within 3-1. Soon after, Poissant scored on a passed ball to bring East Providence closer at 3-2.
Daly had a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third.
East Providence got three straight hits from Silveira, Ben Sears and Rodriques to load the bases in the bottom of the inning. Then, Poissant got a hit to shallow center that scored Silveira to tie the game at 3. With the bases reloaded, Loffredo was able to catch Sears trying to score at home. Then, the pitcher induced a ground ball to get out of the inning.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Daly walked before taking second on a passed ball. Then, Riley Cronin reached base due to a throwing error by the third baseman, Zack Clesas. Cronin would steal second. With runners at second and third and one out, Silveira hit a single down the third base line to score both Daly and Cronin, giving East Providence a 5-3 advantage. Then, Sears hit a single to shallow right field. With runners at second and third, Johnston elected to go to the bullpen and bring in junior right-hander Spencer Dunham. Dunham would get Rodriques to ground out for the second out. But, Poissant would hit a fly ball over the head of the shortstop Heredia to score the inherited two runners, giving East Providence a 7-3 edge.
“We’ve been struggling,” Acciardo said. “The bottom of the order has been struggling right along. But we didn’t make some routine plays...You can’t give a team extra outs. And credit to them, they capitalized.”