By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – With the Tigers waiting in the wings, the Bandits and Pride opened things off in the 2014 Bristol Girls Little League Softball City Series from Wilson Field on Tuesday, June 10.
And with a chance to earn a couple nights off in the city series bracket, the Pride took advantage of the situation, early and often.
Posting a seven run first inning of play, the Pride added crooked numbers to the scoreboard throughout the first three frames of play in turning in a 14-1 victory over the Bandits.
The win propelled the Pride to the winner’s bracket and played the victor of the Tigers’ first game against the Bandits.
When the Pride got on base, the squad took advantage of every passed ball, every wild pitch and when the Bandits weren’t seemingly looking, the Pride nabbed an extra base or two along the way.
In all, the Pride swiped 12 bases in a dominating base-running display.
“That’s one of the strengths of our team, we’ve got a lot of speed and we used that to our advantage,” said Pride coach Darrell Darby. “More importantly, it’s more of a smart base running. We work on that, we practice on that (and) I give a lot of credit to my coach Steve Rivoira. He really drills into them and it paid off in today’s game.”
To the Bandits’ credit, the squad led 1-0 after just a 1/2 inning of work and put a little pressure on the Pride.
Amanda Warner went 2-for-3 for the Bandits and notched the team’s lone run.
And while the score got a bit out of hand late, the squad never gave in against the Pride.
“We always have heart,” said Bandits coach Dave Rappleyea. “Just sometimes, we get behind and we have to rely on coming from behind. It would be nice to work with a lead but, hey, we do what we do. We battle every game, are hearts are always in it and we try real hard every game.”
“We never give up.”
The Pride saw contributions from top to bottom as each and every batter reached base at least once whether it was a base hit or a drawn base-on-balls.
Pride pitcher Gabbie Schinkel had the loudest hit of the evening – an RBI triple to center – but her performance on the mound was simply outstanding.
Schinkel zipped up 11 strikeouts, limited Pride to two walks, one in the fourth and one in the fifth frame, and allowed just three total hits in the fray.
It was a big time performance to propel the Pride into the winners bracket.
“That’s the best game she’s pitched all year,” said Darby of Schinkel. “I’m very happy for that kid. She just threw strikes and I’m just ecstatic because she hadn’t pitched in a while. And you wouldn’t know it by tonight’s game. She gave us what we needed and we really needed it from her.”
Kayla Beaulieu tallied two hits, an RBI, and scored a run while teammate Zoe Lowe also netted two runs for the Pride.
Ali Rivoira went 2-for-2 with three runs scored and stole three bases/ Emily Marquis singled, scored a run, and drew a walk; while Schinkel was 1-for-1 with two walks, an RBI, a run scored, and swiped two bases.
Gwen Torreso singled and snared an RBI. Alexa Furniss nabbed a base hit and walked. Ashley Parker walked and scored twice. Gloria Bachand also added a run while walking twice; and Jerrica Rivoria also added two base-on-balls.
Bandits’ chucker Olivia Beaudoin hung in there for four innings, giving up just nine hits while striking out seven in a complete game effort.
During the seven innings of the game, Beaudoin allowed just one run and two hits to keep the Pride at bay.
Alicia Rappleyea did her best behind the plate in a rare starting assignment at catcher and the pitching and catching duo hung in to the end.
“She (Beaudoin) pitched very well and we had Alicia behind the plate…this is only her second time this year catching all together and she did great behind there,” said Rappleyea of his battery. “She stopped a lot of balls, some you can’t get. They both pitched and caught real well this game.”
With the aggressive base running keeping the Pride moving, the squad scooted seven runs across the plate in the first to make it a 7-1 contest.
Lowe stole home for a run, a couple of passed ball-led runs and an RBI groundout by Torreso put the Pride into front by six after one completed frame.
In the second, Rivoira scored via a wild pitch as the Bandits fell behind 8-1.
Meanwhile, Schinkel struck out seven straight batters and even after yielding a single to center by Warner, the Pride maintained its 8-1 push through 2 1/2 innings before zipping up six more runs to put the thing away.
After Beaudoin opened the bottom of the third with a strikeout, three straight batters walked as passed balls and wild pitched eventually led to five straight runs, a 13-1 lead before Schinkel tallied the hit of the contest.
Her blazing triple to center ended the inning as the Pride was in command at 14-1 after the completion of three tilts.
The Bandits’ Allison Grozik drew a two-out walk but did not score in the fourth as Rivoira snatched a line-drive at shortstop for the third out and with the first two Pride batsmen reaching base – Torreso sending a single to shallow centerfield and Alexa Furniss walking in the bottom of the frame – the home team was looking to pad its lead on the scoreboard during its portion of the inning.
But Beaudoin struck out the side from there to keep the deficit at 14-1.
The only runner to reach base in the fifth was Abby Violette off a one-out walk for the Bandits as Schinkel collected three strikeouts in the fray, leading the Pride to a 13-run victory and advancement in the tournament fray.
“It was very important that Gabby pitched well,” said Darby. “It allowed our ace, Ali Rivoira, to go (if necessary in future games). We hopefully can just capitalize on that and use it to our advantage.”
But even in the loss for the Bandits, there will be another day in the City Series tournament with a date against the double tough Tigers.
“That’s it…we’ve got another game (Wednesday night),” said Rappleyea. “Hopefully, we’re on the winning side.”