NARRAGANSETT — The defending champion label felt misplaced for a team with a lot of new faces, but it certainly fits now as the Narragansett Lions get set for the Connie Mack playoffs.
With a 6-2 win over Slocum on Monday at Sprague Field, the Lions improved to 11-2, which has them in first place in the Cooney Division as the regular season winds down.
“Like I said early, a lot more moving parts, definitely a different squad, but somehow we keep pulling out wins,” head coach Matt Crook said. “We’ll take it.”
Slocum fell to 1-12 with Monday’s loss. It’s been a tough road for a young squad, but with all teams in the league qualifying for the playoffs, there’s still a possibility of making noise.
Narragansett saw that first-hand in Monday’s game, needing some late offense to pull away. It was a 3-2 game until Narragansett scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
“Slocum is last in the standings, but they’re dangerous,” Crook said. “This was one of those trap type games for us.”
Ryan Gamelin pitched a complete game for the win, scattering five hits after taking a no-hitter into the fourth inning. He struck out five, including two in the final inning.
“He came up big,” Crook said. “I wasn’t planning for him to go the whole game. I probably could have taken him out that last inning, but he wanted to try out. He kind of earned it.”
Slocum took the lead in the top of the fourth. Geoff Coyne singled, moved up on a wild pitch and a bunt single by Nick Monti and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Halloran.
Gamelin escaped further difficulty and saw his offense quickly respond in the home half of the inning. Tyler Poirier walked and Lucas Crook reached on an error. After two strikeouts, Colin Leclerc hit a slow chopper to third, beat it out for an infield hit and watched the throw sail down the right field line. Two runs scored and LeClerc ended up on third base. He scored on a wild pitch for the 3-1 lead.
LeClerc, the team’s leadoff hitter for several years now, also had an RBI double in the sixth inning.
“Speed,” Crook said of LeClerc. “You saw that one inning. It’s definitely a factor. There’s no substitute.”
Matt Rocchio and Colin Masseur added hits in the sixth inning rally, and Eddie Blessing brought two runs in with a double.
Slocum got a run in the fifth on singles by Will Sullivan and Wyatt Daft and a passed ball that allowed Sullivan to score.
Narragansett was slated for a Wednesday game with Stonington, another contender in the Cooney Division. That game is likely to have a bearing on playoff seeding. Stonington won the first matchup between the teams.