NARRAGANSETT – The Narragansett softball team’s struggles in the second half of the season continued this week with a 5-0 loss to Middletown on Monday and a 5-4 loss to Exeter-West Greenwich on Tuesday.
After starting the campaign with four wins in their first six games, the Mariners have dropped six in a row to end the regular season. They may sneak into the playoffs anyway and will be hoping to recapture some of their early success if they do.
“We’re just not making plays and we’re not hitting,” Narragansett head coach Mark Paliotti said. “It’s frustrating because we’ve got a nice bunch of kids, and we’re going to have most of them back next year. But if we’re not getting better as the year goes on, we’re going to have the same headaches.”
After a victory over Tiverton on May 20, the trouble began with an 8-4 loss to Wheeler. The Mariners were in position to get back in the win column at Cranston East but gave up six runs in the late innings and lost 7-3. Middletown and Ponaganset kept the Mariners sliding last week with 2-0 and 7-4 decisions.
Matched up against Middletown again on Monday, the Mariners found many of the same problems. Islander pitcher Karissa Dupuis struck out 14 in the shutout win. She had plenty of help with her team getting three runs in the top of the first inning. The Mariners settled in and made some good defensive plays to keep the deficit from growing, but never chipped into it. Dupuis allowed just three hits.
“When you average 12Ks, you’re not going to hit,” Paliotti said. “In a game, you don’t have a bucket of balls. You’ve got to take your opportunities.”
The Mariners made some headway against EWG with three runs in the first inning, but the Scarlet Knights came back to take the lead, then held off a Narragansett rally in the seventh inning. Livy Waranis had a solid outing on the mound, striking out five in a complete-game effort.
“It’s a good bunch of kids but it seems like one thing rolls into another thing,” Paliotti said. “I love my kids. They’re good kids. We’ve just got to hit.”
It’s a large playoff field, so the Mariners expect to have a shot at turning things around. And aside from the dominance of division leader Burrillville/North Smithfield, teams have been pretty tightly packed.
“We beat Mt. Hope and they’re in third place right now,” Paliotti said. “You’ve got Burrillville at the top, but everybody else is right there.”