WOOD RIVER JUNCTION – It seems the only thing able to slow down Chariho’s fastpitch softball team recently is the weather.
The Chargers had their game on Tuesday postponed due to rain, a familiar refrain this RIIL spring season with meteorological malfeasance all across the docket. The situation has made it so the end of the schedule will be forced into however small a timeframe as needed.
Beginning on Wednesday, May 15, the Chargers will go on a barnstorming road trip of a final stretch with six games in eight days. After starting off on the road at Notte Park in North Providence to take on the Cougars (8-6 in DI-Sullivan) at 4:15 p.m., Chariho hosts DI-Penkala-leading East Providence (7-4) 24 hours later on Thursday. Then on Friday at 4:30, the Chargers go to North Smithfield (8-5 in DI-Penkala). On Sunday, they’re under the lights at 7:00 p.m. at Cimalore Field in Westerly for a non-league affair against the 9-3 DII-Thornton Bulldogs.
“Playing so many games in so few days is very taxing,” Charger head coach Dave Petrocelli said. “Especially when you have to travel. All road games are really tough games.”
“Our contributions from all has been the real key to our success up to this point,” Petrocelli said. “Players like Shelby Roode, who has come through with big at bats in big situations, but shes also played outstanding defense at third base. She works hard every day and the results are showing.”
“Other players like Casey Mastin at first base and Lucy Willett in centerfield have been very solid for us. Haylie Wellman, our shortstop, has been outstanding there and has also given us valuable innings and wins on the mound.”
The Chargers get one Saturday of rest before hosting La Salle (12-1 Sullivan) on Monday afternoon then they finish up at battered league-mate Lincoln (1-12 Sullivan) on Wednesday night.
That’s six games in eight days. But with the way they’ve been playing, they may not want to stop.
They picked up another couple of league wins over the Mother’s Day weekend to move to 13-1 overall and 12-1 in DI-Sullivan.
With home games this past Friday and Saturday, the Chargers kept pace in the win-loss columns with old spoil La Salle, the only team to beat them so far this season – a 4-3 defeat on the road on opening day.
On Friday, Chariho took care of DI newcomer Prout, 8-2. The Crusaders have struggled with their move up a division after their dominant run to a first DII title in 2018, and they’re currently last in DI-Penkala at 2-8.
Junior ace Kate Powers started versus the Crusaders and senior Haylie Wellman finished up with five strikeouts. The Chargers ran away from a 1-0 bottom of the second-inning deficit with eight runs over the next four. Senior second baseman Caitlyn O’Leary’s four hits and four runs led Chariho’s 12-hit performance, and O’Leary knocked in everyone with a fourth-inning grand slam that broke a previously tied game open at 5-1.
Fresh to go on that Saturday afternoon against Cranston West, Powers tossed a complete game shutout and only allowed two hits while striking out 10 in the Chargers 5-0 victory.
“Another very good performance by Powers to lead us,” Petrocelli said. “Senior Annaliese Kenney, O’Leary, Joslin, and Powers have all had great seasons so far, and we need them to continue to play well to give ourselves a chance in the playoffs.”
Junior Chloe Joslin started Chariho off on the right path, smacking a two-run double in the bottom of the first inning. Joslin had two of Chariho’s seven hits.
“Our mindset all season,” Petrocelli said. “Has been one game at a time, but if we can win out that game against La Salle will be for the No. 1 spot in the state. For now, we are a long ways from that game.”