Lara’s walk-off double secures sweep for Knights
The CCRI Knights welcomed Southern Maine Community College on Saturday for a doubleheader against the Seawolves. The Knights swept the doubleheader, 8-6 and 2-1, improving their record to 20-3 on the season.
Game 1: Knights- 8
The first game was a back-and forth-affair. The Knights struck first in the first inning, scoring two quick runs. Dylan Brooks (Lookeba, Oklahoma), who ranks 10th in the nation in batting average, drove in Joe Michael (Johnston, Rhode Island) on a sacrifice fly for the second run. The Knights added a third run in the second inning on a Michael double, giving them a 3-0 lead.
The Seawolves fought back in the third inning, scoring four quick runs to put the Knights down 4-3. The lead did not last long.
Sam Franco (Cranston, Rhode Island) came up in the bottom of the third and hit a two-run single to give the lead back to the Knights. Jasiah Hatch (East Providence, Rhode Island) followed this with a two-run double of his own, giving the Knights a 7-4 lead. The Knights added one more in the 4th inning. The Seawolves added two runs in the top of the seventh, but were unable to complete the comeback, giving the Knights the 8-6 victory.
Steve Noti (Warwick, Rhode Island) started the game on the mound for the Knights, going five innings. He gave up four runs on five hits, with only two earned, striking out five on his way to earning the victory. Matt Kennedy (Johnston, Rhode Island) entered the game in relief of Noti. Kennedy struck out three batters over the last two innings of the game. He allowed four hits and two runs, but closed out the game for the Knights.
At the plate, the Knights were led by Michael, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs. Franco followed this up with two hits, two RBIs and one run. Edwin Pichardo (Hollywood, Florida) chipped in with one hit, one walk and two runs scored.
Game 2: Knights- 2
The second game was the opposite of the first. It was a pitchers’ duel. The Knights scored one run early on a Matt Gutelius (South Kingstown, Rhode Island) groundout, which drove in Robert Paulino (Miramar, Florida).
The Knights were unable to get anything going until the last inning. The Seawolves were able to score one run in the top of the fifth inning on a groundball error by the Knights. In the last inning, after stranding two runners in the sixth, the Knights knew they had to get a run to win. After a Paulino single, Brooks grounded into a fielders’ choice, putting him on first base. Deiviz Lara (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) came up to bat and hit a line drive into the gap between right field and centerfield. Brooks was able to score easily, giving the Knights the 2-1 win.
Dave Simmons (Warwick, Rhode Island) started the game on the mound for the Knights. Simmons is ranked third in ERA in the nation, and he kept up this trend on Saturday. Simmons pitched five innings, allowing one run, which was unearned. He scattered three hits over the five innings, and struck out seven batters. Shane Kittila (Warwick, Rhode Island) entered in relief of Simmons, pitching two shutout innings. He allowed no hits and struck out three batters.
At the plate, the Knights managed nine hits. Lara led the team with three hits, including his walk-off double in the seventh inning. He had two doubles and a single. Paulino had two singles, and scored one of the two Knights’ runs on the day. Brian Cipolla (Cranston, Rhode Island), Hatch, Brooks and Gutelius each chipped in one hit for the Knights, with Brooks scoring the second run.
Head Coach Ken Hopkins was very happy with his team’s performance. The Knights worked through multiple challenges in the doubleheader to come out with the sweep. The Knights will continue their season on Tuesday when they travel to Haverhill, Massachusetts, to take on Northern Essex, before an important doubleheader against Avery Point on Saturday.