SOUTH KINGSTOWN – After three hours, multiple extra innings and two game-winning hits, South Kingstown’s baseball team moved past 3A-seeded Cranston West 5-4 in Friday’s Division I single-elimination quarterfinals on a walk-off by senior Cole Podedworny.
The 2B-seeded Rebels needed to win in the bottom of the tenth when they did or the scoreboard at Old Mountain Field would have had to get creative with fitting in additional innings. The Rebels showed the ability to come back with strange circumstances against them after they had a two-run walk-off in the prior inning called back.
The Falcons broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth before the Rebels had their go-ahead. SK had celebrated the wild home-plate dash and both teams had already lined up along the basepaths for post-game handshakes before everyone was rewound, put back on the field and the score was rolled back to a 3-3 tie.
Senior infielder Hunter Roberts was the RBI-man in the Rebel’s ninth, a bases-loaded double into the center-right field gap, his second hit of the game and what would have been third RBI. The tying run was in easily, and the winning run slid in safe but was inexplicably overturned later on.
Roberts put it behind him and struck out the first and third batters in a quick one-two-three inning to start the tenth.
In the Rebel’s half, senior catcher Blaine Lidsky led off by legging out a single on a grounder to third that Rebel manager Jim Sauro admitted looked to be a bit of a make-up call for the called-back game-winner. First baseman Cole Podedworny clinched it at 4-3 again on a long opposite-field double after getting ahead in the count.
“When they first took that walk-off away,” Podedworny said of the false finale. “It kind of lit a fire under us, and we got a little angrier. We just decided to come out swinging; we wanted to get right back in the dugout after that because we knew we could do it.”
“The first couple of at-bats,” Podedworny said. “I was a little late and got jammed. So, in that final at-bat, I was just trying to hit it the other way and at least get the runner to third base. It ended up working out for me.”
“I knew he was going to score at that point,” Podedworney said. “Once I put the ball out there. It was probably one of the best moments of my life. I threw the helmet off and kept running. Especially after what happened the inning before - it felt like we deserved it.”
Roberts got the win as the third man out of the bullpen following the start by Phil Rhule who struck out three.
“They understand what big games are,” Sauro said. “They’ve been in a million of them. We can really hit one through nine; we’ve really lengthened the order and we’re deeper than we have been.”
The win on Friday advanced the Rebels into a best-of-three semifinal series against Bishop Hendricken. The Rebels went up 2-0 in the fourth inning of Game 1 on Monday, before losing on a walk-off bases-loaded single, 3-2.
Game 2 was scheduled for Tuesday (results unavailable at press time), and if a Game 3 is necessary, it will be held today.