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Thanks to an eight-run third inning the South Kingstown American 9/10-Year Old All-Stars are in the District 3 Winners Bracket finals.
SK American scored a 16-3 victory in four innings over South Kingstown National Sunday at Tuckertown Park and will now host Warwick Continental Saturday at 10 a.m. with a berth to the district championship on the line.
â€śWhen you stay in the winners bracket you get more rest for your pitchers,â€ť American coach Dave Palazzetti said. â€śIt is helpful to get out of the blocks quickly.â€ť
Against National Sunday SK American certainly did that, scoring one run in the top of the first and two more in the second to take an early 3-0 advantage.
SK National came right back in the bottom half of the second though, tying the game thanks in large part to a two-RBI single from Tyler McNamara.
Justin Walker, Jeremy Raposa and Carson Wallace â€“ who started the rally with a double â€“ each scored runs in the inning for National, while Trey Young picked up the other RBI.
In the top of the third SK American broke the game wide open as singles from Sean Gardner, Andrew Mosher and Elle Prescott loaded the bases.
Christian Heil then belted a double to plate two runs, while Evan DaCruz and Jack Wentworth kept the scoring parade going with key hits of their own.
Ben Brutti emphatically capped off the eight-run inning with a two-run, home run â€“ his second in as many games in the tournament.
Brutti was equally effective on the mound for SK American as he allowed just three hits in his four innings pitched.
American also got tremendous production from the bottom of its order as its No. 6 through 9 hitters were on base eight out of a possible 13 times.
â€śWhat was good about [the win] was even at the bottom of the order our players were putting the ball in play,â€ť Palazzetti said. â€śWhen you get doubles and homeruns [from the top of the order] itâ€™s nice to have some folks on the bases.â€ť
While the final score ended up a little lopsided, Palazzetti said the atmosphere at the game was as good as you would expect from two teams from the same town facing off.
â€śIt was a blast. All the coaches know each other, all the players know each other and the chants at the beginning of the game were hilarious,â€ť he said.
â€śThe kids were really riled up and having a blast. It was a good, close game going into that third inning. National never quit. Even until that last inning they were putting runners on.â€ť
While National may be down, it is not out of the tournament.
Prior to Sundayâ€™s game SK National opened its tournament with a 4-1 victory over neighboring Narragansett behind a 5 2/3, five strikeout performance from pitcher Sam Craven.
Craven also got it done at the plate for National as his two-RBI single in the top of the third inning broke a 1-1 tie to give his team the lead for good.
In the inning Shane Jedson led off with a single and Scott Cromack reached base on a hit to right that was nearly caught in spectacular fashion by Michael Ward. With runners on second and third Craven then singled up the middle to plate both runs.
SK National will now face the winner of Exeter-West Greenwich and East Greenwich Saturday at 10 a.m. in the consolation bracket.
Like SK National, Narragansett is out of the winners bracket but still alive in the tournament.
â€™Gansett clinched its matchup with National after a thrilling 9-8 victory over Warwick West Side Thursday.
Narragansett trailed 3-0 after two innings but in the top of the third hung four runs on the board to take its first lead of the game.
Ethan Betts started the inning with a single but the rally stalled after back-to-back outs.
Betts came around to score after hits from Owen Costa and Sean Quirk â€“ who was lifted for pinch runner Brady Butler â€“ and Adam Lurgio then belted an inside-the-park home run to make the score 4-3.
Over the next two innings the teams traded the lead back and forth before Narragansett finally took the advantage for good at 7-6 with two runs in the fifth thanks to three, two-out singles from Brody Williams, Sam Laurie and Betts.
â€™Gansett added two more insurance runs in the top of the sixth and, as it would turn out, it would need both of them.
Warwick West Side loaded the bases with two outs and a line drive up the middle brought the runner from third home to cut the lead in half.
On the play West Side sent the runner from second to try and tie the game but a perfect throw from Laurie in center and relay from Betts allowed Costa to tag the runner out at the plate to end the game.
â€śItâ€™s exciting and tragic depending on what side of the stands youâ€™re on,â€ť Narragansett coach Jason Laurie said. â€śThe game would have been tied at that point so it was definitely and exciting finish.â€ť
â€™Gansett will host Chariho at 6:30 p.m. at Sprague Park Friday and with a win will take on Wickford at 10 a.m. Saturday.
â€śItâ€™s been exciting,â€ť Laurie said. â€śWeâ€™ve been in all the games, theyâ€™ve been competitive and theyâ€™ve been having a good time.â€ť