The Western Hills Middle School Cobras rallied after being down three runs in the top of the sixth inning to beat the previously undefeated Warwick Vets Hurricanes 9-5 at Vets on Monday afternoon.
“It was a team win, it was a great opportunity and we’ll take it,” Western Hills head coach Don Ceseretti said. “Good job by all the boys.”
The Cobras were led by Luke Montefusco, who had three hits and drove in three runs and Evan Dacey, who pitched five solid innings, giving up five runs on five hits while striking out four. Anthony Decotis went on to close the game out and pitch a scoreless sixth and seventh inning, striking out two to preserve the win.
The Hurricanes were headed by their first baseman Dylan Cunetta, who had an RBI single, as well as starting pitcher Sean Gallagher, who tossed three innings and allowing two runs while striking out five. Gallagher had a double and an RBI at the plate.
In the bottom of the first inning, Warwick’s Brendan McCaffrey smacked a double to right field. Gallagher drove him in with one out and gave Vets a 1-0 lead.
Western Hills took a 2-1 advantage in the top of the third inning when with the bases loaded, Chris Piscione drove in a run with a ground ball. The second run came in on the same play when Warwick tried for the double play at first base that resulted in an error.
In the bottom of the inning, Warwick had runners at first and second when McCaffrey hit a laser at the second baseman, who overthrew the shortstop at second, allowing Jack Hornstein to score from second and tying the game at 2.
Then, with runners at second and third, Thomas D’Andrea rocketed one at the second baseman who would then overthrow the first baseman, allowing both McCaffrey and Dylan Bourret to score and putting the Hurricanes up 4-2. Then with one out, Cunetta hit an RBI single to drive in D’Andrea and gave Warwick a 5-2 lead.
McCaffrey came in to throw on the hill in relief for Vets in the fourth inning and pitched two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the top of the sixth.
With McCaffrey on the hill, Western Hills had runners at the corners when they executed a double steal and Max Marchehi scored from third, pulling Western Hills within two at 5-3. Later with runners at the corners again, Montefusco launched an RBI single to center field to drive in a run, making it 5-4. Then with the bases loaded, Dacey blasted an RBI single and then Montefusco followed him in when Vets threw to second and the Cobras went up 6-5.
In the top of the seventh, Western Hills got some more insurance. With the bases loaded and no outs, D’Andrea, who was now pitching for Warwick, would send a runner home on a hit batter to extend the lead to 7-5. Then, with the bases reloaded and two down, Montefusco hammered a two-run single to right and extended Western Hills’ edge to 9-5.
Hurricanes head coach Sean Rainey felt his team got lackadaisical in the field after taking a three-run lead.
“We fell asleep when we were up 5-2,” Rainey said. “We fell asleep in the field. We threw the ball where we weren’t supposed to throw it. We didn’t hit the cutoffs, we were trying to get force plays instead of making the correct plays and they scored two extra runs on that. So, it’s just a learning experience for the kids today.”
Rainey believes that his team will come back stronger after its first loss of the season.
“Absolutely,” Rainey said. “These kids were upset about the loss and they’re going to come back on fire. They’re going to be ready to play the next game and the rest of the season.”
Western Hills improves to 5-3 with the win while Warwick falls to 6-1.
Western Hills hosts Feinstein Middle School in its next game on Thursday at 3:30 pm and Warwick travels to Bain Middle School on the same day and plays at 4 pm.