Portsmouth’s state championship hopes stayed alive as the 11-year old squad defeated Cranston Western, 11-2, last night in Warwick.
The loser’s bracket game featured abundant offense from Portsmouth, which connected for 12 hits -- two for home runs -- and scored in every inning except for the first.
Starting pitcher Zack Coleman batted 3-for-4 with a solo home run and an RBI triple to lead the Portsmouth offense. Coleman hit what appeared to be his second homer of the game in the third inning until the home plate umpire deemed Coleman out for failing to touch home. Cranston Western appealed the call to make the ruling official.
Nevertheless, Portsmouth manager Pat Young was pleased with how the team’s bats came through.
“I thought we hit when we needed it,” Young said. “They threw some good pitchers at us. They had some good pitchers available and we got to them tonight.”
Cranston Western could not respond at the plate after falling behind 4-1 after three innings. Cranston had one hit -- a single by Steve Jacques in the fourth -- but kept its patience by walking seven times.
“Portsmouth did a great job, they represented Portsmouth very well,” Cranston manager Rob Rocchio said. “Our team obviously had an off night.”
In the first inning, Cranston put the game’s first run on the board when Jake Mellor scored on a wild pitch. But Coleman would keep Cranston’s bats in check for the remainder of his 4.1 inning outing. Coleman ended up allowing two runs on one hit, walked two and struck out five.
Portsmouth’s most productive inning at the plate was its four-run fourth, highlighted by Connor Kiely’s two-run double. Portsmouth had four innings overall in which it scored multiple runs.
A 44-minute delay in action due to lightning in the Warwick area did not seem to faze Portsmouth. Rocchio said that he wasn’t overly concerned about the delay because the team had gone through a similar situation in the tournament but Young said he was concerned that the stoppage would interrupt the team’s groove.
“I hadn’t been through that before,” Young said. “I was a little nervous of how the kids would bounce back after that -- sitting and watching TV, eating snacks and having fun. They did just fine.”
Rocchio said that although the season now comes to an end for Cranston Western, he is proud of his players and how far they had to come in order to be in last night’s game.
“I told them that even though we lost in the states they are a great group of kids,” Rocchio said. “They’ll be back next year, I’ll guarantee you that. I would take these 13 kids over any 13 kids in the state. It’s been a pleasure all summer to work with them and I look forward to seeing them in out in-house league.”
Portsmouth plays in the finals tonight against Coventry at 6:30 p.m. at Warwick Continental.