For openers, a comeback victory

For openers, a comeback victory

Shea starting pitcher Manny Ortiz gets ready to fire a pitch to the plate during last week’s Division III opener against Times2 Academy at Max Read Field, an 11-9 victory by the Raiders. Ortiz worked the first three innings and struck out six batters, and he helped lead the Raiders offensively by collecting a pair of doubles. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Shea baseball team opens D-III season with 11-9 triumph over Times2 Academy

PAWTUCKET – With just three returning starters on its roster, the Shea High baseball team has its work cut out this year. But last Thursday afternoon, the Raiders were able to kick off their Division III schedule on the right foot by grabbing a come-from-behind 11-9 win over Times2 Academy under very cold and windy conditions.

“It’s always nice to get a win,” Shea head coach Dino Campopiano said. “I thought they played hard, their enthusiasm was great, and we played as a team. And we did some nice things. We laid a couple of nice squeezes down and we got some timely hitting and great hustle.”

Times2 Academy, a Providence charter school that is making its return to the RIIL after playing in it in 2002 and 2003, does not have a field, so they were the “home” team at Max Read Field, the Raiders’ home.

The Raiders had to weather one bad inning, the bottom of the second, when the Eagles plated six runs with two outs to take a 6-2 lead. But the Raiders battled back to score twice in the top of the third and fifth and three times in the fourth and grab a 9-6 lead they never relinquished.

In the fourth, Zach Pereira pinch hit to start the inning and got hit by a pitch. He was bunted over to second and stole third, and after Brandon Ribeiro walked, Pereira scored on a line single that was just fair down the third-base line by Jacob Faria. Manny Ortiz then hit a line double over the center fielder’s head (his second of the game) that drove in Faria with the go-ahead run.

“Obviously, we have some things to work on – every team does,” Campopiano said. “But overall, I think for a young team, they did a nice job. (We have) a lot of work to do, but I’m very proud of them.”

Three pitchers who are expected to work a lot of innings this year teamed up to throw a six-hitter and strike out eight batters. Ortiz started on the mound and went three innings; Faria, a transfer student from St. Raphael Academy, came in for relief in the middle innings, four through six, to pick up the victory, and Ribeiro closed out the seventh to earn a save.

“I thought all three pitchers did a nice job,” said Campopiano, who noted that his team’s strength this year is pitching. “They filled their roles nicely.”

The Eagles had climbed back into the game by scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth, but Shea got those runs back in the top of the sixth and held on the rest of the way.

“I thought both teams played very well,” added Campopiano, who also received a double in the third from one of his seniors, Juan Vasquez. “It was a fun game. We got Classical (on Tuesday) and Mount Pleasant (on Thursday), so it doesn’t get easier, it gets harder.”

Shea senior Juan Vasquez hits a double to left field in the top of the third inning of last week’s win over Times2 Academy.