PROVIDENCE â Even standout pitchers like St. Raphael junior Kaylee Sylvestre are entitled to a bad inning every now and again.
Thatâs what head coach Ron LaBree chalked it up to after watching Sylvestre get called for back-to-back illegal pitches in the third inning of Wednesdayâs Division II winnersâ bracket contest against East Greenwich. The two mistakes enabled the Avengers to score runs in a game that saw them go on to win by a 3-0 count at Rhode Island College.
The loss sends the Saints, the top seed from the East/West component of the bracket, to the losersâ bracket and a date with Prout, which beat Middletown in their losersâ bracket game on Wednesday, 18-5. LaBree said afterwards that he has a practice lined up for Thursday afternoon, meaning the earliest the Saints could swing back into action is Friday.
The Avengers, the No. 2 seed from the North/South tier, will return to RIC on Saturday to face either Exeter/West Greenwich or West Warwick. The Scarlet Knights and Wizards took the field immediately following the conclusion of the Avengersâ triumph over a SRA outfit that knows a thing or two about doing things the hard way. A year ago, the Saints advanced to the Division II after falling in the losersâ bracket.
âTheyâre fine. They were like, âWhen do we play next? Thatâs what we want to know,ââ LaBree said. âWeâll wait to hear and see what the bracket says.â
The third inning began with East Greenwichâs No. 9 hitter, Brooke Andreozzi, reaching on a bunt single. Sylvestre then hit Hannah Anderson with a pitch before a grounder to the right side placed two in scoring position for the Avengers (16-1).
Sylvestre struck out Jacqueline DeFusco for the second out, but thatâs when trouble struck for SRA. With cleanup hitter Kyra Benavent in the batterâs box, the home plate umpire called Sylvestre for an infraction that allowed Andreozzi to score.
The very next pitch saw the umpire declare that Sylvestreâs toss was illegal. Anderson, who advanced to third base after the first illegal pitch, was allowed to come to the plate with East Greenwichâs third run.
âShe was called for not dragging [her right foot off the rubber],â said LaBree when asked about the unfortunate predicament surrounding Sylvestre. âNext thing you know, youâre down 3-0.â
Sylvestre returned to her usual dominant ways, retiring the final 13 batters she faced. She finished with six strikeouts.
âSheâs one of the better pitchers around, but she had a bad inning at a bad time,â LaBree said.
To lay all the blame at Sylvestreâs feet would be unfair. The ace right-hander received no run support as SRAâs offense was grounded by the E.G. pitching combination of starter Rebecca Black and reliever Cora Geunes.
How tough was the sledding for St. Raphael? A leadoff single in the fourth inning by Kamryn LaBree was quickly erased due to a 1-6-3 double play. Though the Saints (16-2) out hit the Avengers by a 5-3 count, they had just one baserunner reach second base in the entire contest.
âWhen you play East Greenwich, you have to respect the speed. (Shortstop) Hannah Anderson is one the best players in the state and if you can stop her, youâll be okay. We slowed her down a little bit and the game should have been 1-0,â LaBree said. âI think we did what we needed to do, but we didnât hit and we got the two illegal pitches.â
Black and Geunes combined to strike out six.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03