Doubled up

Doubled up

Losses to Prout, Rogers drop SRA softball team into tie for fifth place in Division II

PAWTUCKET – For the sixth straight season in Division II, the St. Raphael Academy softball team has reached double digits in regular-season victories, thanks to the Saints’ 10-8 triumph over South Kingstown on Monday afternoon at the Hank Soar Complex.

Unfortunately for the Saints, they were unable to pick up their 10th victory last week when they took on two of the division’s top teams this season, the Prout School and Rogers High.

Last Tuesday, May 8, the Saints were limited to a season-low four hits and left four runners in scoring position in dropping a 4-0 decision at home to Prout. Not only did the Saints drop that game, but they also lost their possession of first place in D-II, while the Crusaders moved into the top spot with their 10th win in 12 games.

Two afternoon later, at Newport’s Toppa Field, the Saints suffered a 10-9 loss to Rogers that saw the Vikings come back from a 9-6 deficit in the bottom of the sixth inning to force extra innings, and then win the game in the eighth on a walkoff single.

Those losses were the third and fourth of the year for the Saints, who entering Tuesday afternoon’s D-II action, trailed Prout (11-2), Barrington (11-3), and the Vikings and Johnson (both 9-3) in the standings. Scituate was also tied with the Saints for fifth place with a 10-4 mark.

In the defeat to Prout, SRA head coach Ron LaBree had to juggle his lineup a little bit, as one of his starters was sent home sick. The Saints still managed to get runners on base, but they suffered their first shutout loss of the season to Crusader ace pitcher Vanessa Oatley, who also struck out 10 batters.

“(Oatley) is pretty good,” LaBree said. “I think (Barrington senior) Paige Concannon is the best pitcher in D-II by far, but (Oatley) is very good. One thing she does is leave the ball down the middle of the plate; we just didn’t hit it.”

The Crusaders scored twice in the top of the fourth and seventh innings, but before then, the Saints had their chances to get on the board first.

In the bottom of the first, leadoff batter Tori Jacques beat out an infield hit to shortstop and raced to second on a groundout to the first baseman. Jillian Serra walked and Madison Nault laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position, but the next batter struck out to end the inning.

In the second, designated hitter Kasey Contreras led off with a double down the right-field line. She was bunted over to third, but then stranded there after back-to-back strikeouts by Oatley.

And then with one out in the third, Taylor Troiano singled up the middle and Serra laced a single down the right-field line. Troiano took third on the hit, but both runners were left on base.

“We played well,” LaBree said. “We made all the defensive plays. We just didn’t put the bat on the ball enough. We had runners on the bags with less than two outs and we couldn’t get them in. It’s part of the game. We didn’t execute when we had to.”

Sydney Charette (pictured) got the start on the mound for SRA and scattered eight hits and two walks while striking out three batters. One of the hits she surrendered was a two-out, two-run single to right by Emma Slade, and only one of the runs Charette allowed were earned.

“(Prout) is in the playoffs and we’re in the playoffs,” said LaBree. “Maybe we’ll run across each other again. The playoffs are a different season. (Prout) is a good team that’s well-coached. They executed when they had to and we didn’t, hence, the loss.”

The loss to Rogers was truly a difficult one for the Saints, who not only stranded 14 runners on base (including two in the eighth), but also saw the Vikings force extra innings with a two-out, two-run homer in the sixth and another two-out homer in the seventh.

In the victory over S.K., Micayla Bourski singled, doubled, tripled, and drove in three runs. Serra also collected three hits, Saylor Costa collected a two-run single, and Charette was the winning pitcher.

The Saints have three regular-season games to play, including Thursday’s 4 p.m. game at home against Westerly. Next Monday at 4 p.m., they will face Barrington at the Eagles’ Victory Field, and then they will wrap up their schedule against Burrillville.