NPWLL gets another shot at district foe

NPWLL gets another shot at district foe

North Providence West pitcher Nathan Bautista, right, covers home plate as Cranston Western runner Alex Detomasis scores on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third inning of last Saturday morning’s District I winners’ bracket final. Cranston Western scored three times in that inning before coming away with a 4-0 victory. (Breeze photos by Eric Benevides)
North Providence West contests seven-time champion Cranston Western for Major Division title

CRANSTON – If the North Providence West Little League’s Major Division all-star team hopes to win the District I championship, it’s going to have to topple the team that’s captured the last seven district titles.

And the ages 11-12 all-stars are going to have to knock off Cranston Western twice, starting with tonight’s 6 p.m. game at Cranston’s Varrato Field.

For the second season in a row, Cranston Western topped NPWLL in the winners’ bracket final, doing so last Saturday morning on CWLL’s home complex in a game that lasted just 66 minutes. Ace pitcher Chris Piscione tossed a superb one-hitter that helped lead the defending champs to a 4-0 victory.

The loss sent NPWLL to Monday night’s losers’ bracket final at Romano Field against Johnston, which had defeated Mount Pleasant in an elimination game last Saturday afternoon. NPWLL was able to overcome a 4-0 deficit in the top of the first inning to down Johnston, 14-4, in a game stopped after five innings by the mercy rule.

NPWLL will now need to beat Cranston Western twice in the double-elimination affair in order to dethrone its opponent, and CWLL promises to send Piscione back to the mound after throwing just 59 pitches in his six innings of work on Saturday. Piscione struck out eight batters, walked one, and faced just 20 batters, two above the minimum.

If NPWLL wins tonight’s contest, that will set up a winner-take-all showdown on Friday night in the friendly confines of North Providence’s Romano Field.

Corey Couglin collected NPWLL’s hit in last Saturday’s game, a sharp single into right field and past the dive of second baseman Ethan Madden, to lead off the second inning. Only three batters were able to reach base, but none made it past first.

“We had a good gameplan,” said NPWLL manager Sal Piccirillo. “We attacked early. (Piscione) throws a lot of first-pitch strikes and we put the ball in play, but they made all the plays.”

Piscione and NPWLL starter Nathan Bautista exchanged zeroes through the first two innings, but with one out in the bottom of the third, CWLL delivered four straight hits off Bautista to claim a 3-0 lead, with two of them, base hits to right by Alex Detomasis and Ron Cronin, driving in runs.

CWLL’s other run came in the fourth on a fielder’s choice grounder by Detomasis.

NPWLL had earned a spot in last Saturday’s winners’ bracket final by posting an 11-1 victory over Fox Point last Tuesday, July 3, at Romano Field. The game, which was halted after four innings by the mercy rule, saw Jordan Loiselle lead the way by picking up the win on the mound, striking out six batters in three innings of work, and also keying the offense with two hits, three runs scored, and two runs batted in.

Also joining the multiple-hit club for NPWLL were Jacob Weidinger, whose two hits were doubles, Adrial Camejo, Bautista, and Coughlin. Camejo and Bautista also drove in two runs apiece.

In Monday night’s victory, NPWLL broke a 4-4 tie by scoring seven runs with two outs in the bottom of the third inning, with the big hit being a bases-clearing double by Bautista that he drilled down the right-field line.

Loiselle went the first four innings on the mound to pick up the win, as he struck out six batters, and he helped his cause at the plate by driving in two runs and scoring three times. Coughlin led the offense with three hits, one of them a double, and three RBIs, and collecting two hits each were Jalen Antoine, who also doubled and knocked in two runs, Weidinger, and Bautista.

Two teams from the North Providence East Little League are also alive in the District I playoffs, the ages 10-11 and 8-10 all-stars, and the 10-11 ballclub stayed alive in its tournament on Monday night by downing NPWLL in their losers’ bracket meeting at K of C Field, 22-9. NPWLL had faced NPELL in their tourney opener on Monday, July 2 and won a 9-7 thriller that took eight innings to complete, but last Thursday night, Johnston knocked NPWLL into the losers’ bracket by posting a 3-1 victory.

North Providence East will play Johnston in tonight’s losers’ bracket final.

In the Major Division ages 8-10 tournament, North Providence East captured its first two games by edging Fox Point, 16-15, and cruising past Elmwood, 13-2, but in Sunday afternoon’s winners’ bracket final, NPELL suffered an 11-0 defeat to Cranston Western. North Providence East will be in action in Thursday night’s losers’ bracket final against a team to be announced.

North Providence West shortstop Jordan Loiselle, right, makes the putout at second base to erase Cranston Western runner Dante Piscopiello in the bottom of the third inning of last Saturday morning’s District I winners’ bracket final. Cranston Western, which is the seven-time district champion, won the game, 4-0.