The Cranston, Auburn Post 20 Gershkoff Auto Body baseball team squashed Woonsocket Post 85 by a final score of 11-1 in five innings on Thursday evening during Game 1 of their opening round playoff matchup.
Gershkoff cleanup hitter Andrew Spirito ended the game abruptly in the bottom of the fifth inning when he rocketed a base clearing, 3-run double to deep left center, which triggered the 10-run mercy rule. Spirito finished the contest with a whopping five runs batted in.
“Every time he’s up there, I feel like he’s going to get a base hit, which he did at the end of the game to win the game.” Gershkoff manager David Schiappa said. ‘That’s the kind of kid he is. That’s why he’s batting in the order where he is.”
“When we hit the ball, it’s infectious,” Schiappa added. “We just keep on hitting. We had everything today. We had great pitching, great defense and great offense. So that’s the goal. The goal is to keep on winning throughout the playoffs because if you get a loss, you’ve got to win more games.”
2018 Cranston West graduate Brett Traficante went the distance on the bump for Gershkoff, striking out nine while giving up just one run on two hits with a walk.
“He’s the same type of kid as Andrew,” Schiappa said. “Every time I put him on the mound, I feel like he’s going to win. Those are my expectations for him. He’s that good.”
With two runners in scoring position during the bottom of the first inning, Spirito batted an RBI single to left field and scored Anthony Ramos from third, putting Gershkoff up 1-0. Then, with runners at the corners, catcher Thomas Barbieri drove in Alex Martinez during a ground ball out and extended the Gershkoff advantage to 2-0. Next, shortstop and Cranston East graduate Justin Neary, belted and RBI single to left and scored Spirito, upping the Gershkoff edge to 3-0.
In the top of the second, Woonsocket got a run back when with two outs, third baseman Kevin Fergosa, snuck an RBI single through the middle and scored Lopez, pulling Woonsocket within 3-1.
Nonetheless, in the bottom of the inning, Gershkoff got some separation when with two on and two out, Martinez launched a routine fly ball to left field, which was dropped by the left fielder and allowed two unearned runs to score, upping the Gershkoff margin to 5-1.
Then, in the fourth, Gershkoff tacked on three more runs. First, Jacob Frost hit an infield RBI single and drove in Robenson Antoine from third, making it 6-1. Then, with runners at second and third, Martinez knocked home Ramos, extending the lead to 7-1. Finally, with runners at the corners, Barbieri hit into a fielder’s choice, out at second, which scored Frost from third and upped Gershkoff’s advantage to 8-1.
Lastly, with the bases loaded in the fifth, Spirito pasted a three-run, base clearing double, to deep left, which ended the game in walk-off fashion with a final score of 11-1.
Gershkoff went on to sweep the series with a 12-2 win in Game 2 at Renaud Field on Friday night. In that contest, starting pitcher Marcos Badia and relief pitcher Kanse Marte combined for a 3-hitter with Badia fanning five batters over four innings and Marte striking out three over three innings.
Martinez, Neary, Antoine, and Cooper Krusz each contributed multiple hits for Gershkoff with Neary finishing with three RBI, while Ramos, Krusz, Frost, and Dante Parisi each had 1.
With the victory, Gershkoff advances to the Final Four, which began on Monday at McCarthy Field in West Warwick. In that game, Gershkoff inched past South Kingstown Post 39 by a score of 3-2.
Cam Harris threw six innings and got nine strikeouts. Kense Marte pitched in inning in relief and racked up three more strikeouts.
Jake Frost and Barbieri each added RBI, while Ramos drove in the game-winner in the fifth.
Gershkoff faced off against Upper Deck Post 86/14 on Tuesday night. The score was unavailable at press time.