East Providences beats Westerly, stays alive in D-II baseball playoffs

Robitaille leads Townies on the mound, at the plate

By Mike Rego
Posted 6/5/23

EAST PROVIDENCE — A day after falling in 11 innings to Chariho, the East Providence High School baseball team responded with a 6-1 victory over visiting Westerly Monday night, June 5, to remain …

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East Providences beats Westerly, stays alive in D-II baseball playoffs

Robitaille leads Townies on the mound, at the plate


EAST PROVIDENCE — A day after falling in 11 innings to Chariho, the East Providence High School baseball team responded with a 6-1 victory over visiting Westerly Monday night, June 5, to remain alive in Pod 1 of the 2023 Division II playoffs.

Tim Robitaille pitched six scoreless innings for the Townies, who earned at least one rematch with aforementioned Chariho in the Pod 1 finals. East Providence is slated to travel to Richmond to take on the Chargers Thursday afternoon, June 8, for a tentative 4:30 p.m. first pitch.

Chariho defeated the Townies 5-3 in 11 on Sunday, June 4. EP must beat the Chargers twice in the double elimination event to advance to the league championship series next week at Rhode Island College.

Back at it Monday night, the Townies and Robitaille plated all the runs they would need during a three-run rally in the home half of the third inning.

With two out, Jack McKnight drew a walk, then moved to second on Steven Estrella's single. EP then caught a break when on a double-steal attempt during Manny Santos' at-bat the Westerly third baseman dropped the ball when attempting to tag McKnight, who would have been out had he held on. Instead, both he and Estrella were in scoring position.

Santos eventually drew another walk, loading the bases. Westerly starter Jack Tenuta next hit EP's Ziurel Vargas to force in McKnight with the game's first run. Robitaille followed, helping his own cause by lining a single to right center, plating both Estrella and Santos before the rally stalled. 

Santos ended his night with two of the Townies' six total hits and with two runs scored.

On the mound, Robitaille worked himself in and out trouble in the early innings. The Bulldogs put the two on, including the leadoff batter, in each of the first four frames, but could bring a run across.

In the first, the sophomore right-hander walked the opening batter of the inning, but he enticed a line-out to McKnight at third base, who threw over to Vargas at first to turn a double play. Westerly later added a single, but Robitaille struck out the next hitter to end the inning.

In the second, he allowed a lead-off single, but was aided this time by his batterymate Brian Rutkowksi, who threw out the Westerly runner attempting to steal second. He sandwiched a walk between a strikeout and flyout to Estrella in center to avoid any damage.

In the third, after another single to start the frame, Robitaille next enticed pop-up to Oliver Andrews at second base, then walked a batter before getting out of the jam with another fly ball to Estrella and a catching a pop up himself to the mound.

And upon getting the three-run lead heading into the fourth, Robitaille hit the first Bulldog he faced, then again enticed a pop out to Andrews and a fly out to Estrella to put two down. He walked the next batter, but ended it with a flyout to Nolan Lorenz in right field.

Robitaille finished with a line of six innings pitched, no runs, four hits, six walks and three strikeouts on 104 pitches.

The Townies would tack on single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth to build a 6-0 cushion on RBI hits by Estrella, Vargas and McKnight.

McKnight also took the mound in relief in the top of the seventh, allowing a run on a couple of hits before shutting the door and making sure EPHS lived to play another day.

Chariho notes

The Townies were coming off the lengthy loss to Chariho the afternoon prior. The Chargers, the second seed in Pod 1, scored a pair of unearned runs off EPHS starter Dylan Annicelli in the top of the first innings.

The Townies finally got those back, scoring two of their own in the home half of the fifth. Annicelli, who threw 10 of the 11 innings, kept Chariho off the board until the top of the 10th when the visitors used a pair of bunts and a solid single to plate a run at the start of the frame. The Townies' sophomore hurler, though, got out of the jam.

In the bottom of the inning, Nolan Lorenz drew a walk off of Chariho reliever, and eventual winning pitcher, Jack Stevens. McKnight dropped a sac bunt to put Lorenz in scoring position. After Estrella struck out, Santos lined a single down the left field line to plate Lorenz with the tying run.

Stevens, like Annicelli, averted any further damage and then his mates struck for a pair of runs in the top of the 11th off McKnight, who took the mound for the Townies in the fourth extra frame.

Ponaganset notes

Late last week, EPHS earned a relatively comfortable 9-1 win over Ponaganset to open pod play. Robitaille and Annicelli combined to toss a two-hitter, while Austin Martins drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the first inning.

Against the Chieftains, with whom they split two games late in the regular season, the Townies scored all the runs they would prove to need while plating three in the bottom of the first inning off of Ponaganset starter Evan Gray.

With one out, Estrella drew a walk. Next, the left-handed hitting Santos ripped the first pitch he saw to the opposite field down the left field line for a run-scoring double. He in turn came around on Martins' solid single to right centerfield. In between, Vargas drew a walk. He went to second on Martin's single, then to third on a Robitaille base hit. Vargas would score the third run of the frame on an Andrews sacrifice fly to right.

Andrews later had two more RBI-singles while Martin had another run-scoring base hit as well and drove in one more on a ground out. Kyler Lorenz plated an EP run on a fielder's choice grounder. Estrella plated Jack McKnight, who tripled before him, on a sacrifice fly.

And all the while, Robitaille was he usual solid self on the hill. He allowed a two-out single in the top of the first, then not another hit in his six innings of work.

The Chieftains scored their lone tally in the top of the fifth after Robitaille walked the lead off batter and threw a wild pitch. He got the next two batters looking, but allowed the runner to steal third and tossed another wild pitch to let the run score.

Annicelli sandwiched a pair of Ks around a flyout and an infield single in the top of the seventh.

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Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.