Losing in the opening game of the Babe Ruth World Series took Atlantic Shore by surprise, but not enough to worry the group of local teenagers.
The Atlantic Shore baseball team lost their opener in the 13-15-year-old Babe Ruth World Series 2-1 to Cranston, R.I., on Saturday in Loudoun County, Va. It was the team’s first loss since before the state and regional tournaments, ending a 10-game streak.
“You know, I don’t think it’s a wake-up call,” head coach Bill Rauzzino said. “I think we played well. It was a very good baseball game.”
Luck wasn’t on their side, Rauzzino said. Though Cranston pitcher John Beneduce pitched a complete game, throwing 119 pitches, Atlantic Shore still hit the ball hard, drew a lot of walks and almost came away with the win.
“He was effectively wild,” Rauzzino said. “I believe we walked five or six times and he hit a batter. He was just wild enough where we couldn’t really piece together a couple hits. He pitched a good game though.”
Kyler Pikus and Kyle Gerace split the pitching for Atlantic Shore. They allowed only two runs on six hits, shutting down Cranston for most of the game.
“It’s just a shame we were on the wrong end of it,” Rauzzino added.
Cranston did something that Atlantic Shore hasn’t been used to in quite a long time — take an early lead. Travis Collins crushed a solo home run in the first to make it 1-0.
Atlantic Shore answered right back in the bottom half of the inning. After Beneduce loaded the bases, Jack Loefflad grounded out to score a runner and tie the game.
Atlantic Shore had a chance to add more runs with Nick Droboniku at the plate and runners on second and third. Droboniku crushed a line drive that the third baseman made a nice play on to save two runs, Rauzzino said.
“We hit some balls real hard with the guys in scoring position and they didn’t fall,” Rauzzino said. “If that ball Nick hit was two inches to the left or two inches to the right, we would have had a couple more runs in the inning.”
Cranston took the lead for good in the third inning. Andrew Ciacciarelli provided his team with the go-ahead run, hitting a sacrifice fly that made it 2-1.
Atlantic Shore was mostly stifled from that point on by Beneduce but finally got to the Cranston starter in the sixth.
With two outs, Loefflad got his team’s first hit with a hard single up the middle. The next two batters followed with a pair of singles but Atlantic Shore left the bases loaded.
“It was nice to get that first hit,” Loefflad said. “ We hit the ball hard a lot all game. So to get that first hit we thought that we could do this and get that rally going and get some momentum on our side.”
Atlantic Shore will look to put the loss behind it as it continues pool play.
Its next game is today at 8 p.m. vs. the host team, Greater Loudon, Va. Atlantic Shore also plays at 1:30 p.m. Monday vs. Twin Cities, Wash.; and at 11 a.m. Wednesday vs. Tallahassee/Leon, Fla.
“It’s not like we played bad,” Loefflad said. “That kid hit a shot in the first inning for them, so they got momentum. We should forget about today and not let it get us down and go into tomorrow and focus and work hard.”
Contact John Russo:
Cranston 101 000 0—2 6 1
Atlantic Shore 100 000 0—1 3 1
Records—Cranston 1-0. Atlantic Shore 0-1.