EXETER—After a dramatic, extra innings victory over a scrappy Chariho squad the Exeter-West Greenwich Junior Little League All-Stars are joining the senior team in the state tournament.
Tyler Lynch’s run in the top of the eighth inning proved to be the difference as EWG escaped with a 4-3 victory in the District 3 Championship Monday at Wawaloam Field.
“That was a terrific game,” EWG coach Jack Kaveny said. “If you’re going to have a championship game, that’s the kind of game you want where it’s in doubt and close the whole way.”
Through the first three innings Exeter appeared on its way to an easy win as Lynch was dealing on the mound and the team held a 3-0 advantage.
“Our pitching was very good,” Kaveny said. “Ty Lynch, I can’t say enough about what he did. If we didn’t have that one bad inning he probably would have finished this off.”
After getting one across in the second EWG pushed its lead to 3-0 as singles from Alex Ventura and Mason Carr plated runs from Christian Soucy and Lynch.
The Exeter left hander ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the fourth though, as back-to-back singles from Eric Nunes and Dustin Jarrett put the first two batters aboard.
Matt Amaral then reached on an error – allowing Nunes to score – and Lynch walked Alex Dewey to load the bases.
Jarrett was then thrown out at the plate by third baseman Trent Johnson on a fielder’s choice by Brian Apiece, but a walk to Derek Shea forced home Chariho’s second run.
Another error would ultimately cost Exeter-West Greenwich as a ball put in play by Andrew DeAngelis was misplayed, allowing Dewey to tie the game.
“We were starting over right there,” Chariho coach Chris Amaral said. “It definitely put a little gas back in our tank, we were able to breathe on the mound and I think it helped us out.”
The score remained knotted a three until the top of the eighth when Lynch drew a lead-off walk and the stole second.
Ventura drew a walk and Noah Coutcher dropped in a bloop single to load the bases, and Carr followed with a ball hit to short that was bobbled just enough to allow Lynch to score.
Chariho managed to work its way out of the bases loaded, no out situation without giving up another run though, and nearly tied the game in the bottom half of the inning.
Amaral led off the inning by reaching on an error and advanced to second on a pass ball.
After a strikeout, Apeice grounded out to second for the second out of the inning but it allowed Amaral to advance to third.
Unfortunately for Chariho, some early substitutions came back to haunt them.
Amaral – the No. 5 hitter in the team’s lineup – is known more for his power at that plate than his quickness on the base paths and Chariho had already used all of its pinch runners.
In the game’s final at-bat there were two wild pitches that made their way to the backstop but Amaral was forced to stay at third.
“Unfortunately he was not linked to anybody and we already had pinch run for him once so we were unfortunately out of bullets on that one there,” Chris Amaral said. “It definitely crossed out minds [to send him].”
EWG ultimately got a pop out to Soucy at a short to end the threat and clinch its spot in the state tournament.
Exeter-West Greenwich will now play the winner of District 2 Saturday at 8 p.m. at Sprague Park in Narragansett.