CNB 9/10’s well-rounded play leads to state championship
To say that the Cranston National-Budlong 9/10-year-old softball All-Stars breezed through their competition this summer would be an understatement.
The District 1 champions rolled through the state tournament, defeating Warwick North in the finals, 17-3, at Diamond Hill Field in Cumberland on Friday night en route to capturing the state title.
CNB took control right away as the road team, plating nine runs in the first half inning on seven hits and five errors.
It took a 1-0 lead when shortstop Elizabeth Lewandowski laced a single that brought leadoff hitter Jade Zuena home. Zuena reached on an error and moved to second prior to being driven in.
From there, the flood gates opened.
Gabriella Cunha registered a pair on RBI singles in the inning, while Marissa Lamarre, Larissa Signore, Sophia Crudale all had RBI hits in the inning as well.
Zuena would also drive in a run with a groundout, and an error at second base allowed Lewandowski to score with two outs to stretch CNB’s lead out to 9-0.
According to CNB head coach Keith Brandow, Friday’s performance was what his team is all about – an all-around team effort with every player contributing.
“It was a strong win,” Brandow said. “Between 12 girls and three coaches, we just prepared them for this time of the year. They came out in four innings and 12-run ruled every team that we played against.”
Warwick North would get one back in the bottom half of the first, with Sydney Suffoletto scoring on a passed ball to make it 9-1.
But CNB would go back to work at the dish in the second, as Signore led off the inning by smashing a ball deep into centerfield. Signore cruised easily into third for a triple, but advanced home on a throwing error to make it 10-1.
In the third, Emily Iannuccilli drove in Lewandowski with a groundout to the pitcher. Two batters later, pitcher Lyndsey Brandow gave herself some more run support, when she ripped a single that scored Lamarre to make it a 12-1 game.
Warwick North would continue to battle, though.
A groundout by Suffoletto plated Lily Dewar in the bottom of the third, before an error at third base allowed Amelia Murphy to come home to cut Warwick North’s deficit to 12-3.
However, CNB would prove to be too strong.
It tacked on five more runs in the top of the fourth to put the game even further out of reach.
The inning was highlighted by back-to-back RBI doubles off the bats of Crudale and Zuena to up CNB’s lead to 14-3.
Zuena would score on a passed ball shortly after, followed by an RBI single from Sydney Jaiswal.
CNB scored its final run when Brandow reached home safely on an error at second base to make it 17-3.
“Every girl on this team got to play and every girl contributed in some way or another,” Keith Brandow said.
Lyndsey Brandow tossed the first three innings, yielding six walks but no hits. she struck out two over those three frames.
In the fourth, Josie DiTroia took over in the circle and would shut the door to close out the win.
She would strike out two without allowing a hit to secure the combined no-hitter for the two pitchers.
“Lyndsey’s been doing this all year,” Keith Brandow said of his starter. “She’s been throwing heat – she has a lot of power for a small girl. When it comes to a big game, I wouldn’t want anyone else out there. But I have Josie, and she’s really good too.”
CNB’s balanced squad will now head to West Pittston, Penn., for the East Regionals. Although there isn’t a World Series at the 10-year-old level, CNB is excited to show what it can do on a bigger stage.
The tournament is set to start on Saturday, but no schedule was available at press time.
“We look forward to representing Rhode Island in a very big way,” Keith Brandow said. “Hopefully we can come back with a regional championship.”