Pauly Penta’s Deli puts together excellent start

Pauly Penta’s Deli puts together excellent start

Barone runner Cody Jenard slides safely into third base, beating the tag by Pauly Penta’s Deli third baseman Jack Bennett, during Monday night’s North Providence-Smithfield Babe Ruth League game at North Providence High. Pauly Penta’s improved to 9-0 by posting a 14-3 victory. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
NP-Smithfield Babe Ruth League’s top team stays perfect at 9-0 by rolling to 14-3 win over Barone

NORTH PROVIDENCE – For the past few seasons in the North Providence-Smithfield Babe Ruth League, Pauly Penta’s Deli has established itself as one of the top teams. But it’s been a long time since the club enjoyed a start as outstanding as the one they put together these past two months.

With its 14-3 victory over Barone last Monday night at North Providence High, Pauly Penta’s improved to 9-0. Pauly Penta’s, which was 22-6 during the 2017 and ’18 regular seasons, ran into tough KFC teams during those years in the championship series, only to lose to KFC, which has won the last four titles.

“It’s been great,” Pauly Penta’s head coach Paul Rioles said about his team’s marvelous start. “Luckily, we’re doing well. I have all of my older kids back and they’re just a fantastic group. I’ve had them since they were 13, and they’re really a great group of kids and players.”

Rioles said that, as a league, the numbers are down, as summer leagues go through ups and downs over the years. There has been a rise in American Legion baseball teams this summer, and as Rioles pointed out, some players wanted to play only for AAU or travel teams, or just decided not to play at all. Rioles’ team, meanwhile, has not been affected by the low numbers, but has surged ahead.

In Monday’s victory, Pauly Penta’s took advantage of eight walks and 10 hits. The winners got on the board without the benefit of a hit in the first inning, but took advantage of two walks, three stolen bases, and groundouts that drove in Jack Bennett and Nick Rioles.

With a veteran lineup, Penta was sitting pretty after two innings with a 6-0 lead, and that was more than enough offense to support their pitcher, Cameron Bernard, who picked up the win by working the first four innings. He gave up three runs on two hits and five walks while striking out six.

“I’ve never had this much pitching,” Rioles said. “I have my son, Nick; Danny Fish, who’s a new 15-year-old, and Cameron Bernard, who I’ve had all three years. Those three pitchers are as good as anybody in the league, and I also have Jack Bennett, who has done a great job in relief.”

Barone, which fell to 3-5-1, did its best to stay in the contest, and in the bottom of the third, Nick Collins delivered a bases-clearing triple to left field. But Pauly Penta’s later added to its big lead, thanks to RBI triples by Bernard and catcher Nick Tsonos.

“(Tsonos) is one of the best kids I’ve ever coached in all my years,” Rioles highlighted. “Besides being a great talent, this kid is so humble; he hustles and has the best attitude. I love giving kids like that credit. And it is indicative of our team. He’s number one with that stuff.”

Rioles said he has nine returning players from last year, as well as some young players with good attitudes, and he mentioned two of them.

“Noah Frezza and Corey Coughlin, on any other team, would be contributing and having a lot more playing time,” Rioles said. “But they understand, just like the other kids did before them, that this is a loaded team, but they are going to be real good players.”

“Their attitudes have been fantastic,” Rioles continued. “When they get in there, they do all the right things. I’m proud of them. They’re learning from these other kids, and I couldn’t be happier with the attitude of the whole group.”

In second place in the league is Genesis Marketing, which came into this week with a 6-2 record. FOP Lodge 13 held a 3-4-1 mark, Admiral was in fifth place at 2-5, and KFC was winless in seven games.

The regular season will run through June before the All-Star tournament break. Most of the time, with rainouts and other factors, the league usually needs to make up games, and the playoffs usually begin at the end of July or early August.

The league has also been successful in the state’s All-Star tournaments the past few years. Last summer, the league repeated as the state’s 13-, 14-, and 15-year-old champions, and for the 15-year-old team, its title was its third straight.

The league will host the 13- and 15-year-old All-Star tournaments at North Providence.