NORTH PROVIDENCE – A year after capturing its first state championship, the Smithfield/North Providence Post 29 Junior Legion baseball team appears to be back in business this season, and last Saturday afternoon, the ballclub improved its young record to 3-0 by sweeping a doubleheader with Scituate Post 19 by scores of 3-2 and 13-3 at North Providence High’s new turf field.
The Smithfield/North Providence squad, which is made up entirely of North Providence players, had kicked off its schedule last Thursday night with an 11-2 win at home over Ponaganset that saw three pitchers, Anthony SanMartino Jr., Brayden Cockroft, and Ronnie Paux, contain Ponaganset’s lineup.
But in the opener of last Saturday’s doubleheader, Smithfield/NP found itself in a pitchers’ duel with Scituate, which received a strong start from Cam Fennier, but Post 29 won the game on a dropped pop fly in the seventh inning.
Smithfield/NP went with two pitchers, starter Dominic McNeil, who worked into the fourth inning before running into trouble, and reliever Tony Abed, who pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in that inning “and was nearly perfect the rest of the way,” first-year Smithfield-NP manager Dom Pontarelli said. “Tony gave us a chance.”
Down by a 2-0 score after 3 1/2 innings of play, Smithfield/NP scored twice in the bottom of the fourth before Vin Pontarelli raced home with the game-winning run three innings later.
The second game was sloppy on both sides, but Smithfield/NP capitalized on its opportunities and owned a 5-0 lead after two innings of play. Scituate scored its three runs in the third, but Post 29 added three more runs in the fourth and never looked back.
Standing out offensively for Post 29 was Jatin Patel, who reached base in all four of his plate appearances, scored in his first three trips to the plate, and collected three hits, including a run-scoring double to left field in the fifth that gave Smithfield/NP a 10-3 lead.
Also going 3-for-4 were Cockroft and Vin Pontarelli, and Cockroft had two doubles, as well as a two-run single to right in the second that gave Post 29 its five-run lead. Paux also went 2-for-3 and scored two runs.
“The hitting was definitely on today,” the Smithfield/NP manager added. “We were missing a few players and we had to go with 10, so we had 10 guys through 13 innings. It’s a lot of playing time, and I’m proud of the guys who showed up today and played hard.”
Pitching for Smithfield/NP were Vin Pontarelli, who picked up the win by going the first four innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits and striking out four batters, and Mazeo DiScullio, who worked the last two innings.
Smithfield/NP, which was scheduled to host neighboring Howard Rogers Post 25 late Monday night, will continue its long homestand on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. by hosting Gershkoff Auburn Post 20 in a doubleheader, and on Saturday at 4 p.m., Post 29 will also host R&R Construction Post 7 in another doubleheader.