Warwick PAL handed Cranston its first loss of the season, beating the Bulldogs 7-6 in extra innings on Saturday morning in Connie Mack baseball at Pilgrim High School.
PAL’s pitching staff of Darek Lallo, Cam Armenti and Andrew Merryfield totaled 16 strikeouts on the day. Lallo, who started the game, finished with 13 alone.
“They came out, they did a great job, and they hit their spots,” PAL manager Bob Creamer said. “I give all the credit in the world to our relievers, especially coming out in this heat, because it just drags you and those guys came in and did a great job.”
For Cranston, Noah Rennick got the start on the hill and concluded with seven strikeouts on 88 pitches.
“He had one bad inning and what he’s got to understand is, he can’t get mad at himself,” Bulldogs manager David Ciolfi said. “When you’re pitching you can’t. You have to stay composed. There’s no highs, no lows. So, once we got him back to where he was even keel, he pitched a solid last three innings. He’s young and he’ll learn.”
Cranston took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Quinn Lanigan launched an RBI double to right field and drove in Danny Estman.
Cranston extended its edge in the third when with one out and runners at the corners, Anthony Florenz laid down a sacrifice bunt and scored Estman from third and upped the Bulldogs advantage to 2-0. Matt Beyer then hit an RBI single and brought home Lanigan to make it 3-0.
Nonetheless, with two outs in the bottom of the third, PAL was able to muster three runs. With runners at second and third, Jeremiah Mullane ripped a two-run single up the middle and pulled Warwick within one at 3-2. Ryan Carlson smashed an RBI single and scored Cam Armenti from second and tied the game at 3.
Neither team was able to push across a run over the next four innings which led to extra innings.
Cranston took a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth when Noah Rennick hit an RBI single to left.
However, in the bottom of the inning with two outs and the bases empty, Warwick’s Lallo fanned in the batter’s box but reached base after a dropped third strike. Lallo stole second shortly after during a passed ball before Armenti knocked him in with an RBI single and knotted the game at 4.
In the top of the ninth, Cranston’s Jared Sepe hit a bases-loaded RBI single to score Matt Beyer and put the Bulldogs up 5-4. Then with the bases reloaded, Adam DiBiase ripped an RBI single up the middle and increased the Cranston lead to 6-4.
In the bottom of the inning, with the bases loaded and one out, Warwick’s Andrew Ekroth struck out on a dropped ball and when he headed for first, a run came in from third and pulled PAL within 6-5. Then with the bases reloaded, Armenti worked a walk, which walked in a run and tied the game at 6. Finally, PAL walked off with the win after that when Mullane earned a bases-loaded walk and brought home Ryan Corrigan with the winning run.
Creamer was happy with the discipline at the plate by his team late in the contest.
“We’ve had a bad habit of jumping on first pitches pretty much all season, but I think our discipline is finally coming into play,” Creamer said. “Guys are coming around, and it showed that last inning.”
“It feels good,” Creamer said about giving Cranston its first loss of the season. “It’s a good team. Give them credit; the game could have gone either way. We just plugged it out a little more than they did today.
Cranston falls to 5-1 on the season with the loss and PAL improves to 4-2.