Chargers turn away Cougars

Chargers turn away Cougars

Chariho runner Shelby Roode, right, is erased at the plate, as North Providence catcher Jessica Rizzo gets ready to throw the ball during the top of the second inning of last Wednesday’s Division I showdown at Notte Park. The visiting Chargers scored three times in each of the second, third, and fourth innings and came away with a 9-0 victory that was their 13th in a row. (Breeze photo by Eric Benevides)
Softball team begins important week with victory over Lincoln

NORTH PROVIDENCE --- The last time North Providence took on Chariho in a Division I softball matchup, on April 9 at the Chargers’ home diamond, Chariho posted a 4-3 victory in a competitive battle that saw the hosts walk off with the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Since that victory, the Chargers had taken the division by storm and rattled off 13 straight victories, and the 13th came last Wednesday against the Cougars and ruined NP’s ’Senior Day’ festivities at Notte Park.

Chariho ace pitcher Kate Powers carried a perfect game into the seventh inning before ending up with a 12-strikeout, one-hit masterpiece, and her teammates did the bulk of their damage in the second, third, and fourth innings to down the Cougars, 9-0.

The Chargers collected 13 hits in the game, including two that left the yard, two-run homers to left field by Shelby Roode in the second inning and Powers in the third.

And speaking of Powers, who scattered seven hits in Chariho’s previous win over NP, she was dominant through the first six innings, as she struck out 10 batters and induced eight groundball outs.

She lost her perfect game in the seventh when Emma Fuscellaro grounder along the third-base line was misplayed for an error, and her no-hit bid was also gone after the next batter, Katie Manchester, sharply singled to left field, past the dive of shortstop Haley Wellman.

But after a flyout by Jessica Rizzo along the right-field line allowed Fuscellaro to tag up and race to third, Powers ended the game by striking out the next two batters she faced.

“Kudos to her,” NP head coach Mike Tuorto said of Powers. “She’s a great pitcher; she’s one of the best pitchers in the state. I think Chariho is the best team right now that we’ve seen in all three facets of the game – hitting, defense, and obviously pitching – and they’re very well coached.”

As for the Cougars, who end their regular season this week with three games, they didn’t do themselves any favors defensively, as they committed five infield errors that led to four unearned runs.

“Going into the playoffs, we have to be better,” added Tuorto. “We have to play better defensively, and we have to swing the bat better. I think we press a little bit at the plate when we face a good pitcher. (Powers) had 3-2 counts seven times and we were swinging at ball four five out of those seven times.”

The Cougars definitely played better in their home finale on Monday afternoon against Lincoln, posting a 5-2 victory that improved their record to 9-7.

Run-scoring doubles by Corina Haddock and Mary Catherine Fornaro in the bottom of the third inning erased a 1-0 deficit and gave NP the lead for good, and Hannah Doorley got the job done on the mound by pitching a six-hitter.

The Cougars’ other three runs came in the fifth, courtesy of five straight base hits, including a two-run single by Manchester.

On Tuesday night, the Cougars paid a visit to East Providence to take on the Townies, which entered the game with an 8-6 mark that included a big 2-1 victory over the Chargers (14-3) late last week that ended Chariho’s win streak.

The Cougars will head to La Salle Academy today at 4 p.m. for a game with the Rams, who faced Chariho on Monday afternoon and blasted the Chargers by a 15-1 score. At 15-1, La Salle is tied with Pilgrim for the best record in the division.

The single-elimination opening round of the state playoffs is scheduled to take place next Wednesday.