After a scorching 90-degree day, Wednesday night was a perfect night for baseball as Hurd Auto Mall faced Providence Post 56 at Davis Park in Providence. Hurd Auto Mall came into the games two games out of first place and playing a Providence Post team that was on a 10-game losing streak not having won on a game since June 15.
There was a late start and finish with Wednesday’s game beginning at about 7:45 p.m. and finishing at 10:45 pm. Despite the lateness both teams bats were wide awake as both teams combined for 20 hits and 15 runs. Hurd Auto Mall took control early taking an 8-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Despite Providence being able to cut the Hurd Auto Mall lead in half in the bottom half of the fifth, Hurd was able to prevail Wednesday night 11-4.
It didn’t take Hurd too long to get themselves into scoring position. After the leadoff man went down swinging, Hurd’s Evan Cabral reached on an error as the Providence second baseman dropped a high pop-up. Matt Barnes followed with an single to center field putting two men on with one out. Hurd failed to drive the runners in as Hurd’s four and five hitters popped and flied out. Hurd sent Scituate High School star Kyle Pheland to the hill. Pheland started his outing sending the first three batters down as they came with a strikeout and two groundouts.
In the top of the second, Hurd was able to break the scoreless game. After a seven pitch count, Hurd’s Jake Tillman was able to draw a walk putting a man on with no out. Tillman then got into scoring position stealing second on a 1-2 pitch. After a Hurd ground out, Tillman was able to get to third with only one out. Tillman then scored on a Cam Simpson sac-fly. Back to Back walks put two more men on with two outs. However, like in the first Hurd was unable to drive the runners in as Evan Cabral flew out to left.
The Hurd lead didn’t last too long, however. Providence was able to get two men on with no outs as Pheland walked the leadoff hitter and allowed a single to left. After a strikeout looking, Providence platted their first run of the contest on a single to right. Providence still had men on 1st and 3rd with only one out, however, Pheland was able to get out of the jam with only the one run, striking out one batter and getting the next batter to fly out to Tillman in center.
After losing the lead, Hurd didn’t take long to get men back in scoring position. Hurd’s hottest hitter Matt Barnes started the inning off taking the second pitch he saw to right for a double. Brendan Cabral followed doing the same, platting Barnes and putting Hurd back on top. Joe Crino followed with a single to right platting Cabral and the third Hurd run. Providence continued to struggle, walking the bases loaded. Providence was able to get one batter down on strikes but then followed walking in a run on four straight balls.
After a long time between innings Pheland came back pitching strong. He sent the Providence batters down in order and striking out two. Pheland breezed through the bottom of the third pitching only 10 pitches total in the inning.
Like in the third, Hurd’s Barnes began the inning on base, walking on four pitches. After the wathree innings of work. The new Providence pitcher didn’t begin as he would have liked. He walked the first man he faced putting another Hurd runner on with no outs. After a strike out looking, Tillman was able to drive in two more Hurd runs on a line drive double to right. Pheland continued his superb work only allowing a leadoff single before sending the next three batters down in order.
Hurd was able to plate two more runs in the top of the fifth, as after a leadoff walk Matt Barnes was able to line an 0-1 pitch to right followed by a Brendan Cabral sac fly, platting the seventh and eight Hurd run. The bottom of fifth was the last big push Providence would have for the night. After the leadoff man was able to reach on a Gian Bianchi error, back to back singles to left and right field loaded the bases with no outs. After an infield fly, Providence was finally able to cash in. Providence platted their second run of the game with a hard single just past the short stop’s glove. Another run scored as Bianchi bobbled another hard ground ball. The fourth and final run scored on a single to right. Pheland then returned back to himself striking out the next two batters he faced.
Hurd scored three more runs in the top of the sixth putting themselves in control with an 11-4 lead. Hurd brought in Zach Daiale to close the door on Providence. After walking the first batter he faced Daiale was able to get a fly out and a dropped third strike out. The game ended with Hurd’s catcher tagging the Providence runner who tried to score on the dropped third strike.
Hurd’s starter Kyle Pheland didn’t disappoint the Hurd faithful pitching a great game on Thursday. Pheland pitched six innings allowing seven hits and one earned run while walking one and striking out seven. The Hurd Auto Mall bats were led by Matt Barnes who went 4-for-4 with three RBIs. Barnes’ performance in Wednesday’s game isn’t unusual for Barnes lately.
“He has been on fire lately,” Hurd’s manager Mike Cantone stated. “He really has picked us up lately.” The Hurd bats were also led by Gian Bianchi who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Providence’s starter didn’t have as much of a good night. The starter pitched only three innings allowing four runs on five hits. Providence’s starter walked a total of seven batters.
After the game Cantone felt good about his team’s performance. Cantone described their game plan coming into the game to be “to score as much runs as possible as quick as possible.” Cantone stated he believed his team “executed this to the T” on Wednesday night. The biggest factor in the win Wednesday was “hitting and making the plays,” Cantone described. “We had a couple bad innings where we didn’t make the plays (on defense) and they got a few runs on us. When playing with a wood bat you must make the plays”.