NEWPORT—Playing from behind is never a recipe for success.
Ocean State found that out first hand Tuesday night at Cardines Field as the Newport Gulls hung five on the scoreboard in the second inning and never looked back en route to a 14-3 victory.
“We’ve had trouble scoring runs the last couple games,” Waves manager Rian McCarthy said. “When they get ahead early like that there’s really nothing else we can do.
“We’ve got to try and grind it out. I thought we didn’t have a real great effort as a team today, I think it can get better, hopefully it does in the next couple weeks because we have a lot of baseball left to play.”
The Waves struggled to hit out of the gates as Gulls’ starter Sean Hartnett was perfect through three, while in the bottom of the second Newport jumped all over Ocean State starter Connor Kelly.
Gulls’ No. 5 hitter Steve Anderson kicked off the inning with a towering home run to center, while a double from Timmy Robinson, hit by pitch from Brett Winger and walk to Ethan Ferreira loaded the bases with no outs.
Back-to-back doubles from Cody Jones and Shea Donlin brought home four more runs before Kelly finally worked his way out of trouble.
Even with the early deficit the Waves managed to hang around though, as Austin Hill entered in relief of Kelly to start the third and kept Gulls scoreless for the next three innings.
Ocean State finally got on the board in the fourth thanks to a lead-off double from Evan Ocello and sacrifice fly from Mike Gerber, and further cut into the deficit in the sixth when a pair of errors allowed Ocello to score his second run of the game.
That would be as close as the Waves would get though as Newport sent 11 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth to extend its lead from 5-2 to 11-2.
North Kingstown native Mike Sherburne started the inning in relief of Hill but only recorded one out – a sacrifice bunt – as Newport loaded the bases.
Austin French came in to strike out Trace Tam Sing but the ball got by catch Pat Quinn on the play, allowing Ferreira to score from third.
Another pass ball brought home Jones, while singles from Anderson, Robinson and Ferreira plated Newport’s remaining four runs in the inning.
“That’s what they’re going to do,” McCarthy said. “They’ve been that way since they came into this league. Like I said, we’ve got to do a better job and put forth a better effort because we really didn’t have a good effort at all today.”
Ocean State got one back in the top of the seventh on a lead-off, solo home run from Gerber but from there Newport retired nine of the next 10 Waves’ hitters to close out the contest.
Tuesday’s win – the second of the day for Newport – clinched the top seed in the Eastern Division heading into the playoffs for the Gulls, while the Waves will still be in by virtue of New Bedford’s 4-2 loss to Sanford Tuesday.
Ocean State is still fighting for the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and the home-field advantage in the first round that comes with it.
“I don’t want to fall to three,” McCarthy said. “I want to play at home. Getting a chance to play [Newport] in the division finals would be great but I think after today – after the whooping they put on us, a nice 14-3 football score – I think we should be ready to play [the next time] we play them.”
The Waves control their own destiny in that sense as they hold a two-game lead over Mystic and Laconia with three games to play as of Tuesday night’s loss.
Ocean State faced off against Sanford Wednesday (results unavailable at press time), returns to Old Mountain today for a 6:35 start with Laconia and wraps the regular season up Friday at 6:35 p.m. at New Bedford.