WEST WARWICK- With the number of players on the field coming close to outnumbering those in the stands, Thursday afternoon’s game at McCarthy Field between West Warwick and Tolman was one many were glad to see come to an end.
With strong winds, frigid temperatures and, for most of the game, a steady rainfall, there was little to look forward to other than the final out being recorded. In the end, it would be the Tigers battling their way back from a 3-1 deficit to post a 7-3 win and stop a three-game slide.
Kyle Depatie collected three hits on the day, none bigger than the one had in the top of the sixth inning that drove in a pair of runs as part of a four-run outburst for the visitors, who now stand at 5-5 on the year.
Ryan Depatie got the start for the Tigers, but would be replaced on the mound by Peter Microulis after the third inning. With an uncharacteristically high walk total up to that point, head coach Theo Murray decided to make the pitching change, one that proved to be the right one.
“He wasn’t hitting his spots that he usually hits. He was off a little bit, and I’m sure that the weather had something to do with it,” he said. “We made a move and it worked out for us.”
Matt Hopper got the ball for the Wizards before getting replaced on the mound in the fifth. West Warwick found themselves at the center of the week’s unpleasant weather a day earlier up in Smithfield when their late-inning rally to tie the score 7-7 was as far as they would manage to get before the game was called.
The team will have to make the trip back up to the northern part of the state at some point before the end of the season to complete the game. There would be no rally on Thursday, as they managed just one baserunner in the final two innings after Tolman’s rally. The loss dropped the Wizards to 4-6 in league pay, as they will look to turn it around on Monday afternoon at Davis Park in Providence against Classical.
They will get a shot at revenge against the Tigers when the two face each other again on May 19 at Slater Park in Pawtucket. The win was an important one for Tolman, not only because it gave them a win for the first time in over a week, but because they showed resiliency under difficult playing conditions.
“The weather was obviously difficult for both teams, but we made some things happen when we needed to,” Murray said.
For him, it came down to his team’s at-bat in the top of the fifth. With the rain still falling, play was briefly put on hold as the umpires gathered and considered calling the game. Recognizing that it could be their final chance to do anything offensively, the Tigers put together a two-run rally to even the score up 3-3 following Guilmette’s two-run single the previous inning. “I think that fifth inning was pivotal.
“If we don’t do something here, it could be over, so we tied it up and then it stopped,” he said referring to the rain.
From there, it was all Tolman. The Tigers tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth to extend their lead to 7-3 and never looked back. Matt Grenier came in from shortstop in relief for Wright who had taken over for Hopper, but it was too late by that point.
“In retrospect, I should have had our redeliver warming up when we were batting in the fifth and I didn’t,” Wizards head coach Richard Grenier said.
The day as a whole was a frustrating one for him and his club, with the weather doing them no additional favors.
“The playing conditions weren’t good, but Tolman had to play in the same weather,” Grenier said. T
he Wizards would have their opportunities offensively, but struggled to come through with the big hit. Brogan Guilmette had a 2-run opposite field single in the bottom of the fourth to put the home team out in from 3-1 at the time, but there would be little else to cheer about from the home team’s perspective.
Matt Hopper would strike out with the bases load the previous inning, in what was a golden opportunity to tack more runs on the board. The Wizards plated the first run on the game back in the bottom of the second on an RBI groundout off the bat of Ernie Wright, but it would be short-lived as the Tigers answered back in the top of the third to even the game 1-1.
The bottom of the fourth was the only inning in which they would manage to score from there on.
“We had opportunties to build on our lead and we didn’t take advantage of it,” Grenier said. “We have to have better plate discipline.”
The loss as a whole was a culmination of frustrating blown opportunities and unfortunate playing conditions.
“It just seems that every little break went their way,” Grenier said, but added that he was not making any excuses. “There was nothing you could do about it. It was just one of those things. Baseball’s strange. They caught every single break and they were opportunistic and they got the win,” he said.