S.K. doubles up Scituate for D-II title

S.K. doubles up Scituate for D-II title

Scituate sophomore ace pitcher Haley Venturini, who was recently named the R.I. Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, struck out 21 batters and surrendered just seven hits in last weekend’s Division II championship games at Rhode Island College, but South Kingstown ended up capturing the title by posting 3-1 and 4-2 victories. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Softball team ends 18-4 season by losing twice to Rebels in championship round

PROVIDENCE – Scituate High tried to perform a feat last weekend that’s never been accomplished by a softball team in this state – capture a Division II championship just two years after winning a D-III title.

Unfortunately for the Spartans, South Kingstown High ruined Scituate’s bid for a championship at Rhode Island College by climbing out of the losers’ bracket of the ‘Final Four’ double-elimination round to down Scituate twice and win its program’s first fastpitch title.

After grabbing a 3-1 win over the Spartans last Saturday, the Rebels came back the following afternoon to post a 4-2 victory, thanks to two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning that broke a 2-2 tie.

The Spartans, who finish their excellent season with an overall record of 18-4, put themselves one win away from the championship by capturing their first four games of the tournament, topping (in order) Woonsocket, 10-0, Mount Hope, 8-1, previously undefeated St. Raphael Academy, 3-1, and S.K., 5-3.

In the 5-3 win over the Rebels, which took place on June 5 at RIC, Scituate sophomore ace pitcher Haley Venturini, who was recently named the R.I. Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, fired a four-hitter that saw her strike out 15 batters and the Spartans rally for four runs in the second inning.

But the Rebels, who went on to defeat Rogers in last Friday’s losers’ bracket final, 1-0, was back at RIC for last Saturday’s rematch with the Spartans, and they didn’t appear to be fazed, even when Venturini gave the Spartans a quick 1-0 lead with a home run over the left-field fence in the top of the first.

In the bottom of the inning, the Rebels came out swinging. Leadoff batter and S.K. pitcher Sam Hutchins singled to left field, and after Liz Maciocio drew a walk, Faith Hutchins laid down a bunt that was thrown away for an error and allowed two runs to score. Faith Hutchins then scored on Olivia Santucci’s two-out double down the right-field line.

The Spartans wouldn’t reach base again until the fifth, as Alison Roy reached on an infield error, but she was soon caught stealing second. Erin Costello then singled up the middle, but Sam Hutchins struck out the next two batters to end the threat.

In the sixth, the Spartans tried to rally again, when with two outs, Talia St. Angelo hit a flyball to left that dropped in for a double. Venturini was then intentionally walked, but Sam Hutchins got out of the inning by getting the next batter to pop out to second.

And in the seventh, the Spartans put three more runners on base, but again could not score, as Hutchins escaped with a four-hitter, striking out seven batters and walking two. Venturini ended up with a three-hitter, striking out 10 and walking one.

In Sunday’s winner-take-all showdown, the Spartans again struck for a run in the top of the first, only to watch the Rebels take the lead for good in the bottom of the inning.

The top of the inning saw the Spartans take advantage of a pair of S.K. errors and a run-scoring single by Costello, but they left the bases loaded.

In the bottom of the inning, the Rebels scored twice with two outs, as Faith Hutchins dashed home on a wild pitch and Julia Bollentin socked a double that drove in Keaira Richardson.

In the sixth, the Spartans collected three of their five hits in the game off Sam Hutchins, but only managed to score one run, as Lexi Parker raced home on a two-out wild pitch to knot the score.

But in the home half of the inning, the Rebels regained their lead on a run-scoring triple down the right-field line by Faith Hutchins that scored Maciocio, who had led off with a walk. Hutchins later came home on a wild pitch.

Despite the defeat, Venturini was again brilliant on the mound, as she ended up with a four-hitter that saw her strike out 11 batters.