PORTSMOUTH — Solid pitching and timely hits powered the Portsmouth Patriots varsity baseball team to an impressive 4-1 victory against North Kingstown at home Thursday.
Pitcher Sam McNally went the distance on the hill, yielding nine hits but no earned runs. He struck out four batters and walked two in seven innings of work.
The Skippers’ Alex Tedesco took the loss for North Kingstown.
There was no score until the bottom of the third inning, when the Patriots’ Ben McGuire singled to left on a hard ground ball and then stole second.
After Evan Moore walked, Nicholas Cipriani sacrificed, moving McGuire to third and Moore to second. Evan Criner then singled on a grounder to right to score McGuire.
In the fourth, McGuire got things going again with a line-drive single to centerfield, scoring William Hathaway, who had reached base on an error by the Skippers’ third baseman.
The very next batter, Evan Moore, homered to left, making it 4-0.
North Kingstown scored a run in the top of the sixth, after a leadoff single, a throwing error by the Patriots and another single.
Head coach Ron Westmoreland said he likes what he’s seen from his squad so far.
“This is a huge win for us,” Mr. Westmoreland after the game. “I don’t know if we’ve ever beaten North Kingstown, which is one of the better teams in the division. So to come out here and play with the confidence we did today … Our first game against South Kingstown we didn’t play with a lot of confidence and it showed. (Wednesday) against Pilgrim we played a good game and then today we came out here and really believed we could win.
He credited starting pitcher McNally with going the distance against a great hitting team like the Skippers. “He did a great job,” said Mr. Westmoreland. “Ben McGuire got a couple of big hits today and Evan Moore had a two-run homer which was big in a close game like this. Everyone contributed in one way or another. Defensively I thought we played well. There were a couple miscues but they didn’t cost us. Overall I just think we played a pretty well-rounded, balanced game and some kids stepped up and got big hits for us.”
The team is loaded with veteran players this season, he said.
“I like the fact we have a lot of returning starters. We’ve got eight seniors and eight juniors and most were on the roster last year, so we have a lot of experience back this year. We didn’t have that last year,” said the coach.
The 10-team Division I South is always tough, he said.
“We play North Kingstown, South Kingstown. Middletown’s tough, East Greenwich is tough,” said Mr. Westmoreland. “There are a lot of good teams and what I’m hearing is that there are a lot of good arms, so we’ll have to work for our runs. Our pitching and defense is our strength and I think that’s what’s going to win games for us.”
The Patriots travel to Moses Brown on Monday, April 14, at 4 p.m. After that they play Toll Gate in another road game Wednesday, April 16, at 4 p.m. Portsmouth will host East Greenwich on Friday, April 18, at 4 p.m.