Woonsocket 11-12 all-stars roll into finals

Woonsocket 11-12 all-stars roll into finals

Woonsocket runner Dante Yantin, right, gets ready to slide across the plate with his team’s second run as Burrillville catcher Adam Decesare awaits the throw home in the top of the second inning. Woonsocket went on to take the lead with a five-run rally in the top of the fourth inning and roll to a 15-3 victory. (Breeze photos by Eric Benevides)
Win over Smithfield sends ballclub into Saturday’s District IV title game in Lincoln

SMITHFIELD – The Woonsocket Little League’s Major Division ages 10-11 all-star baseball team is on the verge of winning the District IV championship.

Two days after blasting Burrillville in its double-elimination tourney opener at Lajoie Field, Woonsocket won a nailbiter in its winners’ bracket final against Smithfield on Monday night at Whipple Field.

Woonsocket only collected three hits off Smithfield pitcher Jacob Shunney, but the all-stars made them count in a three-run, fourth-inning rally that erased a 2-0 deficit and helped them eke out a 3-2 victory.

Woonsocket’s reward for winning this contest is a berth in Saturday afternoon’s title game (at a time to be announced) at Lincoln’s Hien Field against the winner of Wednesday’s losers’ bracket final between Lincoln, which has won the last two district titles, and Smithfield.

Monday night’s game saw Woonsocket receive a superb outing from starting pitcher Joe Greenless, who held Smithfield to four hits in his five innings of work. Greenless struck out four batters, walked no one, and set down the final nine batters he faced.

Patrick Munger pitched the sixth inning and picked up a save by retiring three of the four batters he saw.

Smithfield scored its first run in the bottom of the second on a run-scoring single by Cameron Caprio and doubled its lead in the third on a sacrifice fly to center by Shunney, but Woonsocket stormed back in the fourth.

A bloop single to right by Munger and a four-pitch walk to Greenless set the stage for Dante Yantin’s RBI single to center. Shunney got the next batter to tap back to the mound, but Julius Perez then walked and Greenless scored the tying run on Jackson Poore’s slow roller to second.

Ty Chhourn then gave Woonsocket the lead by driving in Yantin with a sharp single to left.

Woonsocket had a golden opportunity to add to its lead in the sixth, as back-to-back infield errors put runners in scoring position with no one out. But Shunney struck out the next two batters he faced and got his final one to ground out to third.

In Woonsocket’s tournament opener last Saturday morning, the all-star fell behind 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning on a bases-clearing double by Burrillville’s Dylan Lafleur, but Woonsocket took over the rest of the morning and rolled to a 15-3 win.

After a two-run single to center in the second by Dylan Nickerson cut Woonsocket’s deficit to a run, the all-stars erupted for five runs in the fourth, two in the fifth, and six more in the sixth.

Woonsocket belted 14 hits in the game, with Yantin leading the charge by going 4-for-4 with four runs scored. Leadoff batter Braylon Guilbeault collected three hits, one of them a bases-loaded triple, and ended up with four RBIs; Jonah Silva also had two hits, and along with Nickerson and Chhourn, drove in a pair of runs.

Greenless, Guilbeault, and Munger also teamed up on a three-hitter on the mound that saw Guilbeault pick up the win by pitching 2 1/3 innings of one-hit relief.

While the news was good for Woonsocket on Monday night, it was the opposite for the league’s 8-10 all-star team, which suffered a 10-0 loss to Smithfield in its winners’ bracket game at Lajoie Field.

Woonsocket was back in action on Wednesday night, taking on Lincoln for the right to face Smithfield again in Saturday afternoon’s title game (at a time to be announced) at Hien Field.

As for the 11-12 all-stars, their run to the District IV finals came to an end on Sunday night at Hien Field when they suffered their second loss of the double-elimination tourney, falling to Lincoln, 7-4.

Owners of a 4-1 lead after five innings of play, Woonsocket, which had dropped its tournament opener to Burrillville on June 29 by a 4-0 score, fell victim to a stunning six-run rally in the top of the sixth inning by Lincoln.

Bryan Guy had pitched the first five innings for Woonsocket and limited Lincoln to four hits, two walks, and a third-inning run. Offensively, Woonsocket received a two-run triple from Adrian Escalera in the fourth, a solo home run by Angel Arocho in the fifth, and a single and a triple from Josiah Ortega.

Woonsocket shortstop Braylon Guilbeault makes a tough throw on the infield grass after fielding a slow grounder in the bottom of the first inning of last Saturday morning’s tournament opener against Burrillville at Lajoie Field. Guilbeault did it all for Woonsocket, as he also pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and collected three hits and four RBIs at the plate.
Woonsocket pitcher Joe Greenless picked up the win in Monday night’s 3-2 victory over Smithfield by tossing five innings of four-hit ball, striking out four batters, and retiring the final nine batters he faced.