WARWICK — Coventry baseball coach Leo Bush knew there would be days like the one the Oakers experienced Tuesday afternoon at Mickey Stevens Field against Division I-South rival Toll Gate.
Offensively the Oakers were no-hit by Titan lefty Ryan Charette. Defensively the Oakers committed four errors and starting pitcher Aaron Guenet didn’t record an out after walking the first three batters he faced.
It all added up to a 10-0 mercy-rule defeat for the Oakers, who had been playing solid baseball to start the season.
“We need to have short memories after this one,” Bush said. “This game really doesn’t matter. All that matters is we have to get ready for the next game. The biggest thing for us is we have areas to improve in. If we’re playing our best ball now, I’d say we have problems.
“We took some shots today and we’re going to take some shots. We’ll chalk this up as experience.”
Bush delivered two post-game speeches to his team following the defeat. Just as he always does after his team cools down in the outfield, Bush talked to his kids on the right-field line and then just as the team was about to depart Mickey Stevens, Bush gathered the Oakers again near the pitcher’s mound to talk about moving on.
If there was a bright spot Wednesday it was sophomore relief pitcher Max Marcotte. The righty came into the game in the first inning with the bases loaded and no outs. Marcotte only allowed one inherited runner to score before working his way out of the difficult situation.
Marcotte gave up three hits in the second inning, but the three runs he allowed were all unearned when a ground ball to short wasn’t turned into an out. Marcotte only pitched two innings because he threw six innings for the JV team on Saturday.
“That’s all we wanted out of him was two innings because this is the day he would’ve got his bullpen work in anyway,” Bush said. “He got some outs and we made some errors behind him. He was able to clear his mind and keep his composure and keep getting outs.”
Junior Shawn Pacifico didn’t allow runs in the third and fourth innings before the junior gave up two runs in the fifth to end the game. The final run came after an error on a low throw to first base to end the game.
“We’ve been able to get ourselves out of innings and clearly Toll Gate swung the bats well,” Bush said. “We had chances to kind of take the pressure off our defense and the pitching staff and our defense and we just didn’t do it.”
While the Titans (2-2 Division I-South) were frequent visitors to home plate, the farthest any Oaker got was second base. Lead-off hitter Anthony Masseur and second baseman Nick Palumbo drew back-to-back, two-out walks in the third inning, but Shaun Vigeant grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Chartette made quick work of the Oakers in the first inning before the Titans drove Guenet out of the game in the last of the first. Twelve of Guenet’s first 14 pitches were balls to load the bases. Evan Stamps then delivered an RBI single and Joe Martinez drove in a run on an error.
Guenet allowed two more hits when Bush decided to pull him so the senior would be available for Friday’s home game with North Kingstown. Senior Brandon Pare, who threw a bullpen session after Tuesday’s game, is expected to get the start.
“Once we saw Aaron wasn’t going to pitch deep into the game we pulled him just to get ready for Friday,” Bush said.
Marcotte worked his way out of the first inning, but an error to start the second allowed Toll Gate to open up an 8-0 advantage after two innings.
Pacifico worked around an error in the third inning and a triple in the fourth inning to keep the deficit at eight. The Titans finished the game off with three hits in the fifth inning.
Coventry (1-3 Division I-South) had lost its first two league games by a combined five runs, but now the team must regroup for the mighty Skippers, who have allowed just three runs in their first three games.
“We’re young, so who knows where the season takes us by the end of the year,” Bush said. “Right now we all understand that we have to get better.
“We’ve been fortunate all season that we’ve been able to play situational baseball and our pitching has kept us in it. Today was a case of a team being better than us.”