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EAST GREENWICHâ€”The East Greenwich High School baseball team continues to roll through the early part of their 2013 schedule, running their record to a perfect 3-0 after defeating Toll Gate 6-4 Monday afternoon.
After watching an early lead slip away the Avengers had just enough in the tank at the end to hold off the Titansâ€™ charger.
â€śWe jumped out quick in the first inning,â€ť said East Greenwich coach Bob Downey, â€śand then the bats went a little silent until the last inning.â€ť
The Avengers took advantage of Toll Gate starter James Meizoso their first time through the lineup and batted around in the first inning.
East piled on four runs in the frame, powered by a pair of RBIs from sophomore Nolan Cooney and senior Jeremy Streich.
Meizoso settled in, however, and kept EG off balance while facing no more than four batters in each of the next three innings.
â€śTheir pitcher started throwing his curveball for a strike more consistently,â€ť Downey said.
â€śIt fooled a couple of our guys. When you have a high school kid that does that, that can keep high school hitters off balance.â€ť
While the Avenger bats cooled, the Titans were slowly warming up.
After recording just one hit in the first three innings Toll Gate cut the deficit in half with a pair of runs in the fourth to make things interesting.
Much like his Toll Gate counterpart though, East Greenwich starter Jake Moss put a tough inning behind him and responded with a strong fifth and sixth.
Not one to overpower hitters, Moss utilized his unconventional mechanics and off-speed pitches to keep the Titans off balance.
â€śThe second time around [Toll Gate] got up to his fastball a little bit but he throws his curve for a strike,â€ť Downey said.
â€śKids have a hard time timing him up. If heâ€™s throwing those pitches for strikes, all of a sudden they are down 0-2 and that puts them in a bad hitters count.â€ť
Moss and the EG defense kept Toll Gate off the board in the fifth and needed all of three pitches to get out of the sixth.
The EG offense once again found its stride as Cooney stroked a homerun to left as part of a two-run sixth inning, providing some much needed insurance.
Despite East Greenwichâ€™s resurgence, the Titans were not content to just walk away.
â€śI never take that team lightly. Those kids are tough. Theyâ€™re scrappy and they didnâ€™t give up,â€ť said Downey. â€śI knew they were going to come hard at us again in the seventh and they did.â€ť
After his efficient sixth inning, Moss came back to start the seventh but gave up an infield single to the first batter and was relieved by David Hopkins.
Toll Gate quickly adjusted to the harder-throwing Hopkins - who also gave up a single to the first batter he faced - and managed to once again cut a four-run lead in half.
That was as close as the Titans would get though as Hopkins shut the door on any chance of a comeback.
â€śLast year, close games like this, we wouldnâ€™t have closed out,â€ť Moss said. â€śThis year every game weâ€™ve played weâ€™re playing good, solid all around baseball. Itâ€™s fun. A lot of fun to play right now.â€ť
Moss will look to have a lot more fun on vacation week, as Mondayâ€™s game was the first in a long week of work for the Avengers.
East Greenwich (4-0, 3-0 Division I-South) was back in action Wednesday against a tough South Kingstown squad (results unavailable at press time) and will close the week with a 3 p.m. start at Barrington.