SOUTH KINGSTOWN - The South Kingstown Little League 12-year-old all-stars couldn’t make it three long summers in a row.
Runner-up in the 10-year-old and 11-year-old tournaments the last two years, South Kingstown dropped its opener this year and was eliminated Saturday in a 9-7 loss to Westerly National at Tuckertown Park.
South Kingstown was aiming for a run through the losers bracket and was well-positioned as the most experienced team in the tournament. But a bad start against Westerly created a deep hole, and the all-stars couldn’t get all the way out.
Westerly scored three runs in the first inning led by a Grayson Simmons two-run homer. After South Kingstown answered with two runs on RBI by Gian Lepore and Jordan Chaloux, Westerly broke things open with a five-run second inning. Four hits and two South Kingstown errors did the damage, with Jake Calhoun’s two-run single the big blow.
Westerly tacked on one more run in the third on a Simmons RBI groundout.
South Kingstown relievers Chaloux and Matthew Chofay quieted the Westerly bats from there, with no more runs scoring over the final three innings. That set the stage for a comeback, and South Kingstown started to deliver. Lepore crushed a solo home run in the fourth inning and Skyler Fratiello-Soule chipped in an RBI single to score Eli Wood later in that frame. A double by Ben Davis, an error, a triple by Lepore and an RBI groundout by Chaloux accounted for three runs in the fifth as South Kingstown moved within 9-7.
Westerly reliever Thomas Fiore retired the final three batters of the fifth inning in order, though, and did more of the same in the sixth. Fiore worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning to stifle South Kingstown’s final attempts at a comeback.