Shea baseball team nears Div. III playoff spot, winning record

Shea baseball team nears Div. III playoff spot, winning record

Shea pitcher Manny Ortiz picked up the win on the mound in last Wednesday afternoon’s 11-4 victory over the Paul Cuffee School at Providence’s Ardeone Field. In five innings of work, Ortiz struck out eight batters and gave up four runs on six hits and three walks. The Raiders, who are 8-6 in Division III play, will pay a visit to Hope tomorrow for a 3:45 p.m. game against the Blue Wave. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Raiders turn two on Paul Cuffee School

PROVIDENCE – The Shea High baseball team’s bid for its first winning season since 2009 got a big boost last week when the Raiders improved their Division III record to 8-6 by sweeping their home-and-away series with the Paul Cuffee School.

Last Wednesday, the Raiders headed to Providence’s Ardeone Field for the second game of their series against the Navigators and posted an 11-4 win. Two afternoons earlier at Max Read Field, they opened the series with a 9-3 victory.

The Raiders also moved closer to qualifying for the postseason for the first time in nine seasons, and they will try to clinch that playoff berth when they battle Hope and Davies in their final two regular-season series of the spring. The Raiders, who were scheduled to host Hope on Tuesday, will visit the Blue Wave tomorrow at 4:15 p.m.

In last Wednesday’s win, the Raiders jumped on the Navigators in the top of the first inning and never looked back, as JoRon Lewis got the big hit – a two-out, two-run single to right field – that gave Shea a 3-0 advantage.

The Raiders added two more runs in the second, one in the fourth and fifth, and four in the sixth. They had some key hits, but the Raiders played small ball. They were a menace on the basepaths and executed a suicide squeeze, as Brandon Ribeiro, who had a run-scoring single in the second, scored on a squeeze bunt by Jacob Faria to make it a 5-1 game.

“That’s our game – hyper-aggressive on the basepaths,” Shea coach Wayde Labossiere admitted. “We’re going to push the issue, make you make throws, and make you make tags. We’re going to put a lot of pressure on you on the basepaths and we’ve done a very good job of that. Today, our baserunning was very, very important.”

While the Raiders tallied up the runs on offense, Manny Ortiz was on the hill and mowing down his opponent. He pitched five innings and was responsible for four runs, six hits, and three walks. He also struck out eight Navigators. Faria pitched the sixth and seventh innings without allowing a run or a hit.

“This was a great team win,” Labossiere said. “We got contributions from everybody out there. Our pitching has been outstanding all year long, and we got another great performance on the mound. And JoRon Lewis came up with that big two-run single in the first inning. We’ve been struggling a little bit at the dish and he came through big for us.”

Ribeiro had pitched in the first game of the series and got the win.

“We’re getting better every game, and I’m very proud of the guys and their effort,” Labossiere added. “When the nice weather comes, we play a little bit better. We want to just keep getting better as this playoff run goes and continue to do the little things.”