NARRAGANSETT — South Kingstown is seeing a lot of first-place Gershkoff, with two meetings in the last two weeks of the regular season and a third that was scheduled for Wednesday in the opening round of the R.I. Elite League playoffs.
The second matchup – a 15-6 loss on Monday night at Sprague Park – was similar to the first game, with a few big innings by the powerful Gershkoff lineup defining both. There were positives for South Kingstown in the defeats and the team left Narragansett on Monday hoping to turn the good into something more in the playoff matchup, which is a winner-take-all, single-elimination matchup.
“They’re the top seed, we’re the lowest seed,” South Kingstown manager Pete Podedworny said. “Based on our two games against them, I feel like we can compete with them. In one game, anything can happen.”
South Kingstown finished 2-11 in the regular season, never breaking out of a skid that began after a 2-1 start to the season. A busy stretch to close the season with five games in nine days didn’t help matters. When it lost to Gershkoff 11-3 on July 27 – the beginning of the second half of the season – the team’s record sat at 2-6. Losses to Scituate, NEFL, Upper Deck, Smithfield/North Providence and Pawtucket followed.
Seeding was already set heading into Monday’s game and both teams were saving pitchers for the playoffs. Gershkoff jumped on South Kingstown starter Mark Wightman for six runs in the top of the first inning. South Kingstown worked its way back to within a run thanks to a five-run rally in the third inning. Kyle Abbott had an RBI single, Liam Flynn plated two with a base hit and Lucas Crook drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 6-5.
South Kingstown reliever Ryan Gamelin kept the game close, allowing just two runs from the second through the sixth inning. After Gershkoff went up 8-5 in the fifth, South Kingstown got a run back on an error in the fifth.
Gershkoff pulled away again in the seventh with seven more runs that put the game away.
For South Kingstown, positives could be found in the offensive performance and the middle innings in general.
“I was encouraged by the hitting tonight,” Podedworny said. “I know we didn’t see their number one, but we had some good at-bats and we got some good swings from some guys who have been struggling a little bit.
“Gershkoff is the favorite. In our two games so far, I don’t know what else Gershkoff has, but I know if I can bring my full 17 or 18 in a one-game playoff series, we’re going to give it a shot.”
Results from Wednesday’s game were unavailable at press time.