Ponaganset’s Junior Legion team zooms to 4-0

Ponaganset’s Junior Legion team zooms to 4-0

Scituate runner Zander Butkins, right, dives back to first base on a pickoff attempt as Ponaganset first baseman Jack Gilmore swipes a late tag on him during last Thursday night’s American Legion Junior Division game at Ponaganset High. Scituate defeated Ponaganset, 18-8. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Battle of Post 20 clubs results in wild 18-8 game

GLOCESTER – It was a long, high-scoring five-inning game last Thursday night, but Ponaganset’s Scituate Auburn Post 20 was able to plate its final run in the bottom of the fifth to cap an 18-8 victory over the Scituate-based Scituate Auburn Post 20 team in their R.I. American Legion Junior Division matchup at Ponaganset High School.

That victory was one in a four-win week for Ponaganset, which along with the rest of the state, launched its Junior Division schedule last week. On Monday, June 18, Ponaganset defeated Pawtucket’s Howard Rogers Post 24, 11-4, and two nights later, the ballclub topped neighboring Smithfield Post 64, 8-2. Ponaganset capped its week last Friday night by taking a 2-1 thriller with Barrington Post 8.

Against its Scituate rival, Ponaganset scored three runs in the first inning, and batting around its lineup in the second, added eight runs to take an 11-0 lead. Ponaganset did not squander the lead, but let Scituate back into the game in the top of the third, as Scituate also batted around and scored eight runs.

Logan Butkins hit a line single to right field to score Lucas Riccitelli and Cam Barry was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in Joe Angelino. Ponaganset also had some fielding woes in that inning, and that helped Scituate cut deeper into its deficit.

At 11-8, it was suddenly a game, but Ponaganset was not done scoring yet. Ponaganset added a run in the fourth and plated six runs in the fifth to enforce the mercy rule. Aiden Cauley hit a two-run triple to dead center to make it a 14-8 game, and a bad hop single over the first baseman by Brandon Laramee allowed Garrett Baldwell to score his fourth run of the game, as well as Ponaganset’s 18th of the night.

“We had one rough inning, but we kept at it,” Ponaganset coach Anthony Parrillo said.

Both teams are part of the Scituate Baseball Club’s summer program, which also fields a Connie Mack team and a first-year Senior Division ballclub that both contain Ponaganset and Scituate players. At the Junior Division level, the program has so many players that they have enough to field two separate teams.

But with players filling out multiple teams and appearing in three or four games a week, the two teams have to get creative with their pitching. Parrillo said that with his team’s pitching situation, even when its pitchers run into trouble, they have to stay in the game. Walks were a problem for Scituate in last Thursday’s game, as seven Ponaganset batters drew free passes and a few were hit by pitches.

In addition to scoring four times, Baldwell, who was Ponaganset’s leadoff batter, collected three hits and also picked up the win in relief on the mound. Christian Garneau and Laramee also reached base four times.

“It’s nice to see the younger guys play,” said Parrillo, who is involved with the other teams as well. “They had some good at-bats and a couple of good hits.”

Last week’s loss was Scituate’s season opener, but Scituate came back the following night to top Woonsocket’s Tasca Chevy Post 85, 3-1. Evan Pendergast, Tom Dichiaro, and Dimitri Sampalis teamed up on the mound to hold down Post 85’s offense, and Barry and Dan Pietzynski each collected multiple hits.

Scituate will host South Kingstown Post 39 tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Manning Field. As for Ponaganset, which had three games earlier in the week, the team will host Newport Post 18 on Friday at 5:30 p.m.