SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Monday and Tuesday were a perfect representation of the up-and-down ride that South Kingstown Post 39 has been on in the American Legion ranks this season.
The team beat defending state champion Upper Deck 4-3 on Monday for perhaps its best win of the season, but fell flat against Collette Vacations Post 10 on Tuesday, losing 4-2 at URI’s Bill Beck Field.
“That was a really big win against Upper Deck. I think they’re technically in second place, but they’re probably overall the better team in the league. It was a great win,” manager Pete Podedworny said. “It took until the end of the game to get there. We’ve been struggling with hitting the last two-and-a-half weeks. We’ve been getting great pitching and great defense, but our hitting has really been struggling. And it was for the first five innings of last night’s game, as well. But we ended up putting a string of hits together in the sixth inning.
“I was hoping we would carry that into today and we did, but then it just hit the skids again. That’s baseball.”
Post 39 dropped to 7-6, with six games remaining in the regular season. They’re hoping to string some wins together down the stretch, something they haven’t been able to do up to this point.
“We’ve got three doubleheaders left,” Podedworny said. “We’ve got to really put it together.”
Broc French and Phil Pedersen handled the pitching duties in the win over Upper Deck. French pitched well but left with his team in a hole. Pedersen picked up the torch and ran with the lead once Post 39 got it.
“Broc did a real nice job. Then Phil came in and did a great job,” Podedworny said. “He shut down the middle of the order in the sixth inning.”
Paired with the offensive breakthrough, it was enough for a big win.
Post 39 was the visiting team for Tuesday’s game and seemed to be picking up where it left off in the top of the first inning. Will Beaudreau led off the game with a double, and Blaine Lidsky followed with a single. A sacrifice fly by Cole Podedworny staked Post 39 to the lead. But after a single by Sean Sposato, Collette worked out of trouble, stranding runners on second and third.
Collette then went to work, touching up Sposato for two runs in the first inning and tacking on single runs in the third and fourth innings. One of the team’s aces, Sposato didn’t have his best showing, perhaps due in part to the protective artificial turf that is covering the field’s dirt mound for the summer.
“It’s a little awkward, and I think Sean struggled with it. You can come out here and look at it, and it can throw you off,” Podedworny said. “Overall, he didn’t have great control. But I’ve got to be honest – he didn’t get helped out defensively, either. It kind of all set in together.”
The larger problem was the return of Post 39’s offensive struggles. Collette pitcher Colin Gauthier allowed just the first inning run in six innings of work. He struck out 10 and scattered five hits, just two of which came after the first inning.
Post 39 threatened against the bullpen in the seventh, as Pedersen, Colin Egan and Beaudreau singled to plate a run, but the rally stopped there.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to hit,” Podedworny said.
Post 39 was slated for a doubleheader against Scituate Post 19 on Wednesday, with results unavailable at press time. The team will host a doubleheader against Howard Rogers Post 25 Friday night at Sprague Field in Narragansett before a season finale twin bill Monday against Navigant Post 85 at Old Mountain Field.