Admiral stuns Genesis in Babe Ruth semifinal-round opener

Admiral stuns Genesis in Babe Ruth semifinal-round opener

Admiral runner JORDAN HURST, #8, steals second base with ease in the top of the first inning, as Genesis shortstop MARCUS MENSAH, left, awaits the late throw to the base and second baseman ANTHONY SANMARTINO, right, backs up the play during last Thursday’s game. Admiral rallied for three runs in the seventh inning to topple Genesis, 8-6. (BREEZE PHOTO BY KAYLA PANU)
Last-place ballclub sits one victory away from reaching North Providence-Smithfield finals

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The North Providence-Smithfield Babe Ruth League began the semifinal round of its postseason with an exciting game last Thursday night, as Admiral used a three-run rally in the top of the seventh inning to grab an 8-6 victory over Genesis in the opening game of their best-of-three series at North Providence High.

This was a completely different game from the one these two teams played the previous week at the end of the regular season. In that contest, Genesis won 2-1, and that helped Genesis sew up the second seed in the playoffs and a bye into the semifinals.

Admiral, meanwhile, ended up as the last seed, but upset the third seed, Barone, in the quarterfinals earlier last week, and Admiral continued its amazing run in the playoffs with last week’s come-from-behind win.

In the seventh, Admiral’s 10th batter, Dom Bellini, led off with a walk, and after Jordan Hurst followed with a walk. Brayden Shadoian laid down a bunt on the first pitch he saw, with the runners off with the pitch. The pitcher fielded the ball and threw it to third base, but Bellini slid safely into the base on a close play.

Nathan Kelly then hit a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing Bellini to tag up and score the tying run. After the next batter popped out to the catcher, Dom Marzilli ripped the first pitch he saw up the middle for a two-run single that drove in Hurst and Shadoian.

“Credit the bottom of our lineup for getting on base and bringing it up to the top of the lineup where we had our better hitters,” Admiral head coach Lou Zammarelli said. “It was a good win for us.”

Those three runs made a winner out of Kelly, Admiral’s starting pitcher, who struck out the last six batters he faced, including the side in the bottom of the inning to preserve the victory. Kelly pitched all seven innings, scattering five hits and seven walks, but ending the game with 15 strikeouts.

“We had our number one pitcher carry us,” Zammarelli added. “He’s obviously very good. (Genesis) is a really good team, and for him to do what he did, particularly in the last two innings, was just a great effort in a tight situation.”

The semifinals continued on Tuesday night with a doubleheader that included the opening contest of the best-of-three semifinal-round series between the regular-season champion, Pauly Penta’s Deli, and the fifth seed, defending four-time champ KFC. In the nightcap, Admiral was seeking to sweep its series with its second game against Genesis.

The playoffs will continue tonight, and the championship series is expected to start at the end of the week at a date to be announced.

“We’re happy with the win,” Zammarelli added. “We finished last in the regular season and now we’re one win away from making the finals.”

In last Thursday’s game, Admiral grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but Genesis responded with four runs in bottom of the first, three of them unearned. Marcus Mensah drove in the first run with an infield hit, and after the go-ahead run scored on a passed ball, the next two raced home on a throwing error.

Admiral got a run back in the second and tied the score in the fourth, but Genesis reclaimed its lead by scoring twice in the fifth. But Admiral got a run in the sixth before winning the game in the seventh.

“We had a lot of trouble during the season; we only won two games and I know we’re better than that,” Zammarelli said. “But we played well tonight.”