EXETER—All it took was one swing of the bat for Chariho to pull away in its game against Exeter-West Greenwich Tuesday at Wawaloam Field.
A grand slam over the right field fence in the second inning from senior Dave Champlin gave the Chargers a five-run cushion as Chariho went on to down the Knights 8-0.
“David’s been a three-year starter as long as I’ve been here and he can swing the bat,” Chariho coach Dave Cunningham said. “When he’s in the zone he can hit good pitching. Today he was in the zone and he obviously laced the ball a couple time.”
Champlin belted a double off the fence in the first inning against EWG’s James Fiske but the Knights’ starter managed to work his way around the hit unscathed.
In the second inning Fiske was not so lucky.
After retiring Dan Rathbone and Ed Woodruff to start the inning Fiske got himself into trouble by giving up a single to Alex Tefft and a walk to Joe Edgar.
Tefft then scored on a Mason Thompson single and Mike Pagliarini followed with a single of his own to load the bases to set the table for Champlin.
The senior left-handed hitter unloaded on a hanging breaking ball that cleared the short fence in right to give his team an early 5-0 advantage.
“I just tried to do my best like I do every game,” Champlin said, “and I just happened to get a hanging curveball that I could something with.”
“We had that one bad inning,” EWG coach Dave Gamba said. “The Champlin kid, he’s quite a hitter.”
Five runs proved to be more than enough for Chariho ace senior Jimmy Paquette, who gave up no runs on two hits in six innings pitched and struck out five.
“This was probably his most complete game, mixing his pitches and throwing his curve ball for strikes consistently,” Cunningham said. “When he throws like that he’s tough and that makes us tough.”
The Chargers also got tremendous production from the bottom of the lineup.
Through five innings Woodruff, Tefft and Edgar got on base seven out of a possible nine times and were responsible for five of Chariho’s runs.
“The one thing we are is deep in the lineup,” Cunningham said. “One through nine we have guys who can hit, which wasn’t the case in previous years.
“We now have 11 or 12 guys who have an idea of what they’re doing at the plate and when they apply that they’re good hitters.”
As for Exeter-West Greenwich (2-7, 1-6 Division II-South) it was another tough loss for a young team trying to find its way in D-II’s most competitive subdivision.
“That’s where we’re at,” Gamba said. “It’s a young team somewhat and we’re rebuilding.”
The Knights struggled to get runners in scoring position as they could not get a runner past second – which they did in the first, fourth and sixth innings – during the game.
Earlier in the season senior Konner Rogers came through with a number of clutch hits but the Knights will unfortunately be without out his services for the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury in an April 20 game against Narragansett.
“Konner’s out for the season unfortunately,” Gamba said. “He was our best player at this time as far as hitting and pitching and all-around player [went].”
EWG will look to get back on track today at 4 p.m. when it returns to Wawaloam to host its second former Division I squad in as many games, Tiverton.
The Chargers (8-1, 7-0 Division II-South) are now one of just two teams – along with East Providence – that are unbeaten in Division II play.
“Our team this year has been playing together for a while and we’re starting to build some chemistry between the younger players that we haven’t really played that much with because a lot of us have played together from little league,” Champlin said.
“We feel a little bit of pressure but it’s starting to drive us and make us go forward. We want that great season so we’re going to try and put that in the past and keep moving forward game by game so that way we can keep getting wins.”
Chariho will look to keep its winning streak alive today at 3:30 p.m. when it hosts second-place Narragansett (6-4, 5-2 D-II South).