Saints pull out another close victory

Saints pull out another close victory

St. Raphael Academy first baseman Jason Yany, left, shown trying to tag out Woonsocket runner Isaiah Figueroa on a pickoff play at first base during last Saturday’s game at Renaud Field, had a big week with his bat to help the Saints sweep their home-and-away series with the Villa Novans. The Saints will host Middletown in a Division II-A showdown on Thursday at Vets Park. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Baseball team scores twice in seventh inning to nip Novans; SRA takes on Middletown in Thursday’s Division II-A clash

WOONSOCKET – The St. Raphael Academy baseball team picked up its fourth straight victory last Saturday morning, and like their previous three wins, this one went down to the wire.

One-win Woonsocket High played well enough to capture its Division II-A game with SRA, but the Saints found a way to plate two runs in the top of the seventh inning and hold on for a 6-5 victory that raised their record to 8-3.

“We had two hits on the day,” SRA head coach Tom “Saar” Sorrentine said. “That’s it. (Woonsocket) deserved to win the game. They outhustled and outplayed us. We were sleeping. We’ll take it, but we probably didn’t deserve it.”

When the Saints bused to Middletown High on Tuesday for their game against the Islanders, they did so battling for the top spot in the standings with Middletown and East Greenwich, which both entered the week with 9-2 records.

The Saints will host the Islanders in their regular-season finale on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Vets Park, and the playoffs are expected to start next Monday with preliminary-round matchups.

“Hopefully we’ll learn something from (last Saturday’s) game and play a little sharper the rest of the way,” Sorrentine said.

Last weekend’s game saw the Saints hold a 4-0 lead after 3½ innings, but the Novans come back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, tie the score in the fifth on an infield error, and take a 5-3 lead in the sixth on another infield miscue.

But with one out in the seventh, the Saints answered back by putting runners in scoring position. A flyout to shallow right field moved the Novans one out away from winning the game, but a double error on an infield grounder allowed Ben Force and Nolan Potter to score the tying and go-ahead runs.

Jonathan Quinn picked up the win on the mound, as he relieved SRA starting pitcher Sam White with one out in the fifth and allowed just one hit, a leadoff single to Shayne Godin in the seventh, and the Novans’ unearned run in the sixth.

“Quinn came in and did a decent job,” said Sorrentine, who saw Taylor Gaspar deliver a run-scoring double in the fourth. “White didn’t really have his good stuff today. They hit him pretty well, but Quinny got us home. It was a good effort.”

Three days earlier at Vets Park, the Saints topped the Novans, 5-4, thanks to a walkoff RBI single to left in the bottom of the seventh by Force. Down by a 2-1 score in the fifth, the Saints took the lead on a bases-loaded triple to left by Jason Yany, but Woonsocket tied the score in the sixth. Quinn also earned the win on the hill by pitching the top of the seventh.

The Saints, who have won four times by one run and twice by two runs this season, also picked up a 5-3 victory on the road two weekends ago over Narragansett, as White pitched a six-hitter and Force drove in three runs, two on a second-inning double. The Mariners tried to come back late in the game, but they saw a big sixth-inning rally fall short.