East edges West to advance in D-I playoffs
The Cranston East Thunderbolts snuck by the Cranston West Falcons, 1-0, in a pitchers’ duel at McCarthy Field last Wednesday evening. East junior Alex Martinez had two hits in the game, with the second being an RBI double in the bottom of the third inning that drove in the eventual game-winning run.
Senior Steven Piscopiello and junior Andrew Spirito notched a pair of hits each for West.
Both schools got strong performances from their starting pitchers, Marcos Badia for East and Brett Traficante for West, as both went the distance with Badia finishing with two punch outs and Traficante tallying five.
’Bolts’ head coach Mike Walsh holds a sense of certainty sending Badia, a junior, to the hill.
“Marcos has been our guy all year,” Walsh explained. “At this point, we were just going to ride him. We weren’t going to go to anybody else. We feel the most confident in him. His pitch count wasn’t up, so we figured we could just ride him until the end.”
West head coach Rob Malo held praise for both pitchers.
“Brett pitched very well,” Malo said. “Marcos pitched equally just as well. Going back to the 16-inning game, Marcos threw nine innings in that game and seven today and we haven’t scored off of him in 16 innings.”
“We left quite a few on base,” Malo added. “We just couldn’t get the hit when we needed it and we had opportunities, but couldn’t cash in.”
During the top of the first inning, Piscopiello launched the first pitch that he saw for a one-out double. However, Badia was able to get Steven Rocchio to fly out and Spirito to foul out, stranding the runner.
Traficante hit the first batter that he faced, Jacob Frost. With one out, Martinez hit a single to put runners at first and second. However, Traficante was able to get Jake Palazzo to hit into a force out at second before getting Anthony Ramos to ground out for the final out of the inning.
Both Badia and Traficante retired the side in order for their respective teams in the second frame.
In the top of the third, West’s Nik SanAntonio hit a line drive over the head of the shortstop, Justin Neary, for a two-out single. After that, Piscopiello hit a single to right, putting runners at first and second. However, Rocchio grounded out to Neary, who made a long throw to first for the putout.
Robenson Antoine led off the bottom of the inning with a standup double to left center. After Traficante struck out Frost, he walked Neary. With runners at first and second, Martinez hit a shot to left center that brought in Antoine, giving East a 1-0 edge. East would hold on to that margin the rest of the way.
With the victory, East moved on to play La Salle in the D-I Regional Playoffs Pod II, but the ’Bolts lost to the Rams, 10-7, on Saturday at Rhode Island College.