Gershkoff falls in season opener

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Cranston, Auburn Post 20, Gershkoff Auto Body was swept by Warwick’s NEFL/ Post 101 during an American Legion baseball doubleheader at Cranston Stadium on Friday evening.

Auburn fell in the first game 3-2 and the second, 13-5.

Gershkoff got a complete-game effort from starting pitcher Seth Daly, who struck out nine, and on offense, Auburn was topped by Andrew Clesas, who hit two singles, and Celeb Harris, who added a triple.

Pilgrim graduate Tyler Parks started the first game on the bump for NEFL and earned the win, fanning four over five innings and Blake Roberge closed out the game with three strikeouts in two innings of relief.

In that contest, NEFL scored the game-winning run in the top of the sixth when North Kingstown’s Geoff Coyne belted an RBI single to right, which scored Roberge.

The other two NEFL RBI came from A.J. Ucci, and Tyler Amore.

“This was a battle,” Auburn manager David Schiappa said after the first game. “It went back and forth. We had a pitching duel. They got some breaks, we didn’t. As far as plays we put on, we didn’t get the bunts down and we didn’t take the secondary leads we needed to score the runs. That was the difference in this game.”

In Game 2, NEFL scored 11 runs during the first three innings and ran away with the 13-5 victory.

During that contest, Andrew Merryfield, drove in three runs for NEFL while teammates Christian Rapoza and Evan O’Connor added two RBI each.

Gershkoff were headed by Evan Degaitas, who had three hits, plus two RBI, and Noah Cook, who had two hits.

Auburn earned its first win of the season the following day when it beat Howard Rogers 7-3 and with that they sit at 1-4 on the young season.

Schiappa is not worried about his club’s slow start as he believes the boys just need a little more time to jell.

“It’s the first time we were together the other night,” Schiappa explained. “This team got together late because they were still playing high school and stuff. So, we’re just starting to get into the groove. We’ll be fine. I’m not concerned about the team because we have a good team.”

“I like the life,” NEFL manager Mike Fratus said following the first game of the doubleheader. “I think we played okay defense. We hit the ball early and then, we kind of went stagnant and then, it came on again late.”

Fratus believes that, much like last summer, his club has the ability to shut down the bats of the opposition.

“I feel like again, we have a good defensive team this year and we have good pitching,” Fratus said. “We have a good core of young guys on this team. We’ve got some good veterans and some young guys.”

Next, Gershkoff will host the Itri Square Cranston Classic Tournament from June 20-23. Then, June 27-30, Gershkoff will take flight to Anchorage, Alaska to play in the BP Invitational before traveling to Kenai, Alaska to play in the Big Miller Big Fish Tournament.

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