Skippers start baseball season with high win percentage
Kevin Gormley said before the baseball season started that pitching and defense were his team's strong points. Now, eight games into the season with a 6-2 record, the North Kingstown High School baseball coach has seen how important both of those elements have been to the team.
The Skippers started the year with a lopsided 14-1 win against Coventry, but Gormley cautioned his team that the competition in the southern division was going to be tough and they were going to have to stay grounded.
The coach's words rang true in their first division contest, a game in which the offense struggled to get a key hit to score runs.
"We had 14 guys on base and we couldn't get them across the plate to score the tying or winning runs," he said. "We walked away from that game knowing what our competition was going to be and that we needed to pick it up at the plate to get our first (division) win."
They won their next two games, defeating West Warwick 18-3 and East Providence 11-8, but one inning almost cost the team that coveted southern division win against Narragansett and strong pitching is what pulled North Kingstown through in the end.
The Skippers were leading 6-1 going into the bottom of the sixth, but three errors combined with three hits, led to six Mariners runs and suddenly the five-run lead had evaporated into a one-run deficit.
Mark Medeiros had pitched during the team's 18-3 win over West Warwick a few days earlier and was not expected to pitch during the game, but Gormley looked to the starter to replace reliever Dave D'Errico.
Medeiros came into the game and pitched solid for the Skippers and kept the Mariners from scoring any more runs. He also helped the team by hitting a double in the seventh and then scored on a Nick Savickas base hit for the winning run.
Gormely said the most important lesson his team took away from the game is that it takes hard work to win every game, no matter who the opponent is or what the score is.
The team's second loss of the season came at home on April 13 against Chariho, 4-2.
Just as one inning almost lost a game against the Mariners, one big inning against South Kingstown lifted the Skippers to an important win over the rival school.
Medeiros had a shaky start, but was able to hold off the Rebels as his teammates stepped up the offense.
South pitcher Alex Briggs was also unsteady in the first inning, loading the bases with no outs, but he only gave up one run. Briggs took a 3-1 lead into the second, but 14 Skipper batters came to the plate in the inning and combined for nine runs, including a Ryan Morris solo homerun.
The nine-run inning had a settling effect on Medeiros and he only gave up two more runs in the contest and took the 10-5 win.
Morris, a Jamestown resident, is the starting third baseman for the Skippers this year, and Gormley said that he has moved solidly into the position.
"One of our strengths this year is the number of returning players that we have. We lost a few key players from last year, but quite a few came back and are playing well for us. Morris was a reserve player last year and he is doing very well at third base," the coach said.
Islander Jeff Cammans is one of two seniors on the team and is the starting catcher.
"Jeff is one of the best hitters in the state. We are looking to our seniors for leadership this year and as the captain he will be providing that leadership," the coach said.
John Perrotti, a junior from Jamestown, also earns praise from Gormley.
The strong start for the Skippers has Gormley feeling good about his team, but he knows they cannot take anything for granted.
"This is a very competitive division and it is as balanced as it has ever been. We need to go out every game ready to play," he concluded.
The team will travel to LaSalle tomorrow at 3:45 p.m., to Fitch on Saturday at noon and will host Woonsocket on Tuesday, May 1, at 3:45 p.m.