Trying for a D-II three-peat

Trying for a D-II three-peat

The scoreboard tells the story as Ponaganset pitcher Kenny Desrosiers, #22, is congratulated by teammate Matt Viveiros, #18, after tossing a three-hitter in the Chieftains’ 1-0 victory over Narragansett last Thursday night at Pierce Field. (Breeze photo by Eric Benevides)
Two-time champ Ponaganset duels Chariho in best-of-three baseball finals

EAST PROVIDENCE – There has never been a Division II baseball team in the history of the RIIL to capture three straight championships, but Ponaganset High was trying to pull off the monumental feat this week.

Unfortunately for the Chieftains, if they hoped to bring home the coveted title, they would have to win back-to-back games in their best-of-three title series with the team that shared the regular-season crown with them, Chariho.

The Chargers used a four-run rally in the home half of the third inning to beat the Chieftains, 4-2, on Monday afternoon at McCoy Stadium and move one victory away from capturing their first championship since 1966.

The second game was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon back at McCoy, with Ponaganset ace pitcher Kenny Desrosiers, who delivered a three-hitter in last Thursday’s 1-0 win over Narragansett, taking the mound on full rest. If a third and deciding game was needed, it took place on Wednesday, weather permitting.

Monday’s loss snapped an eight-game win streak for the Chieftains, who went 3-0 in the regional playoffs and punched their tickets to Pawtucket last Thursday by edging the Mariners in a neat 84-minute pitchers’ duel between Desrosiers and Luke Waranis, who limited the Chieftains to a season-low one hit (Chris DePetrillo’s line single to left field with two outs in the third inning) in his 4 1/3 innings of work, but let his wildness get the best of him in the bottom of the fifth inning.

It was there when Waranis beaned the first batter he faced, Curtis Briggs, with an offspeed pitch and walked the next batter, Mark Gardella. Desrosiers then tried to advance both runners with a sacrifice bunt, but Waranis misplayed the bunt to load the bases for Lucas Pierce, who worked a walk to bring home Briggs.

With the bases still loaded, the Chieftains tried to squeeze home Gardella, but the move backfired when Waranis fielded a pop bunt and instantly spun around and fired the ball to third to erase Gardella.

Waranis’ day was done a couple of minutes later when he walked DePetrillo to reload the bases. He was relieved by Shaun Quirk, who extinguished the threat with a strikeout and then set down the side in the sixth, but by then, all the damage Ponaganset needed to do was done.

“We only got one hit, so the fact that we even scraped a run there shows that we were fortunate,” said Ponaganset head coach Anthony Parrillo. “I thought both teams played awesome, especially defensively. Both teams made great plays, and (Narragansett) third baseman (London Sudduth) was phenomenal, but we made the plays that we needed to make.”

Desrosiers, meanwhile, didn’t allow a runner to advance past second base in his fine outing, which saw him need just 69 pitches to complete. Desrosiers and the Chieftains did receive a scare in the top of the fourth when Jordan Riendeau led off with a hard one-hopper that plunked Desrosiers off his calf and caromed toward the third-base line for a hit. Desrosiers crumpled to the ground, but he soon got back on his feet and shook off the shot.

As for the victory, it was Desrosiers’ 10th in as many starts, and entering Tuesday’s game, his career record was a perfect 18-0 in 18 starts.

“Kenny’s been awesome,” said Parrillo. “He keeps us in games and throws the ball over the plate, and our defense makes plays. That’s the way we do it, and that’s what I tell these kids all year, even my other pitchers – don’t walk anybody. There’s nothing we can defend if we’re walking guys. Throw strikes and let them hit the ball – we have a good defense behind you.”

In Monday’s game, which needed just 94 minutes to complete, Matt Viveiros pitched a solid game for the Chieftains, as he limited the Chargers to six hits and two walks and only threw 70 pitches. Unfortunately for him, half of Chariho’s hits came in the third, and one of them was a two-run single by cleanup batter Sean Sposato.

The Chieftains, who scored twice in the top of the fourth, collected only five hits off Chariho starter Ben Harrison and reliever Jared Powers. DePetrillo collected two of them and Gardella drove in Briggs with a triple down the right-field line.