WEST WARWICK — The last time the West Warwick baseball team suffered back-to-back mercy-rule defeats the Wizards were playing alongside North Kingstown, South Kingstown and the rest of Division I’s best.
Chariho, which reached a Division I regional final last year but hasn’t found much success in the state’s highest division over the last two decades, dropped down to Division II this season and reminded the Wizards what it’s like to play a D-I team Thursday afternoon at McCarthy Field.
The undefeated Chargers scored six runs with two outs in the first inning and Chariho senior starting pitcher Andrew Mongillo struck out seven batters and allowed just one hit in a 10-0 Division II-South victory.
“This is a team that beat North Kingstown twice in the Division I playoffs last year and you’re talking about a team that has been a Division I team for a while.” West Warwick coach Richard Grenier said. “They may not have winning records like NK and SK, but this just reminded me of a Division I game where we opened the door and they took advantage.”
“I’m very happy,” Chariho coach Dave Cunningham said. “I’m pleased with the kids’ approach at the plate because they made adjustments so when they saw the pitcher for the second and third time they were able to be a little more effective. All in all I am pleased.”
Regardless of what division its opponents are from, West Warwick (1-2 Division II-South) needs to play better than it has in defeats to Narragansett and the Chargers this week. West Warwick has recorded just two hits in 10 innings and its defense hasn’t been perfect – the Wizards committed three errors Thursday.
The biggest problem has been starting pitching. Matt Masse, who started Thursday’s game, and Kyle Beck were expected to be the backbone of the team. Beck struggled Tuesday and Masse allowed eight runs in four innings of work.
“Our season is going to go as well as Kyle, Matt and Drew [Doran] pitch,” Grenier said. “We knew that. They are going to have great days and we have to do the job behind them, too. I’m surprised it was 10-0 again, but we did open the season with a nice win against Mt. Hope.”
Chariho (4-0 Division II-South) is the only remaining team undefeated in the division. The Chargers already own impressive over wins bitter rival Westerly and Narragansett.
Cunningham, whose team hasn’t finished the season over .500 since 1995, is pleased with the start of the season, which includes a non-league win over perennial D-I powerhouse Cranston West.
“There’s obviously some teams in Division I that are more talented than the rest,” Cunningham said of the difference between the divisions. “We haven’t faced a team like North Kingstown, South Kingstown, East Greenwich or Hendricken. There aren’t the super-talented teams, but every team we play has talented players.”
Masse, who was making his first start of the season, appeared to be sailing along in the first inning. The senior sandwiched a hit batsman around two outs. But then the Chargers started making solid contact, as Jimmy Paquette, Mongillo, Alex Tefft and Joey Edgar all drove in runs to give the visitors a 6-0 lead.
Mongillo also hit some turbulence with two outs in the first when Rich McNeil singled to lift and Gregg D’Ambrosca drew a walk. Mongillo struck out Richard Grenier Jr. to end the inning and he went on to strike out the side in the second inning.
“When he throws strikes and mixes his pitches he’s tough to hit,” Cunningham said. “He didn’t play for us at all last year. When he’s healthy and he’s throwing the ball like that he’s tough to beat – I don’t care who we play.”
“Their pitcher did a nice job keeping the ball low and we never made the adjustment on the corners until probably the third inning,” Grenier said. “We have to make the adjustments earlier in the game.”
Masse settled down in the second and third innings, but he gave up a RBI double to Paquette and RBI triple to Kyle Kirby in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 8-0.
Anthony Indeglia pitches the final inning and gave up a two-run double to first baseman David Champlin to finish off the scoring.
The Chargers were back in action Wednesday against Tiverton (results unavailable at press time) and will return to the diamond Friday at 4 p.m when they travel to Aquidneck Island to take on Rogers at Cardines Field.