By Russ Waterman
Even a seven-hit, two-run outing by Barrington pitcher R.J. Shea couldn't stop Portsmouth and its ace, Ryan Westmoreland, from remaining the only unbeaten team in the state.
So how did Westmoreland, who continues to attract flocks of Major League Baseball scouts, out-do his prior outing - a one-hit, 20-strikeout victory?
How about the 6-foot-2 senior right-hander going out and pitching a perfect game and striking out 19 as he did in last Wednesday's 2-0 win against Barrington?
The Patriots (14-0) scored two runs to secure the win against Shea in the top of the seventh inning on RBI singles by Brian Shelburne and Chris King. Westmoreland improved to 5-0. In 34 innings he has struck out 79 batters, allowing just six hits, and has a 0.41 ERA while batting .587.
Patriots' lefty Tim Flight, who will be attending Division I Charleston Southern next year, has also pitched well for the Patriots, including his best game, a two-hit, 13-strikeout performance in a 12-0 win over Cumberland.
Pitcher Billy Cosmopoulos of Moses Brown (10-3), second to Portsmouth in Division I East, is being overshadowed despite a superb season. Cosmopouolos (5-0) had a no-hit, 12-strikeout game in an 8-0 triumph over Middletown last week for the Quakers, who finally get their first crack at the league-leading Patriots at Portsmouth on Tuesday.
Division I North
Lincoln (9-4) recently defeated league rival, second-place LaSalle Academy (8-4), 14-1, in the Lions' second win over the Rams. John Tangherlini, the ace of the staff, pitched a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts while also clubbing a double. He had offensive help on two hits by Ryan O'Dell and Jeremy Rhault. Jordan DaCruz and Ryan Silva also had decisive extra-base RBI hits in a recent 3-2 victory over North Providence.
Division I West
Bishop Hendricken (12-1) lost its first game to North Kingstown, but has remained at the top of the division by holding opponents to just two runs a game. The Hawks beat Massachusetts power Xaverian, 6-4, on Saturday, with Milan Adams hitting a two-run clinching homer. They have a deep pitching staff led by Andrew Ferreira, who has a no-hitter, one-hitter and two-hitter to his credit, and a hitting attack led by Adams, Chris Costantino and Dan Gamache, each of whom have many extra-base hits.
Second-place Cranston West (11-2) has lost to the Hawks once but the Falcons have a chance to pull even with Bishop Hendricken on Tuesday when they play the Hawks in Warwick.
Division II North
Looking for a winning team that's unpredictable, that features different heroes every game and can make you squeamish when the seventh inning begins? Try North Smithfield (10-3), which has had half of its games and five of seven contests decided by one run. The Okrutas – Matt and Kevin – Chris Nasati, Nick Lafleur, Nick Narodowy, Brendan Barry and Brian Van Pelt all seem to be taking turns making game-clinching contributions.
Still, Burrillville and Johnston, each tied at 8-4, and Mt. St. Charles Academy (9-5) remain within easy striking distance of the Northmen in the fiercely-contested league race.
Division I South
Next-door neighbors South Kingstown (12-1) and North Kingstown (11-2) are in a torrid race for the league lead. The Rebels entertain North Kingstown on Tuesday in a prime-time matchup of the league's best teams.
Jackson Geary remains unbeaten at 4-0 and has pitched two complete-game shutouts to keep South Kingstown, whose sole loss was to Hendricken, in the league lead. Kevin Carey, Brian Lessard, James McKinnney and Borris Dwyer have bolstered the Rebels offense.
Chris Colby, Cody Normand and Dave D'Errico have been the all-around stars for North Kingstown at the plate and on the mound. Kevin Lorenz hit a grand slam and Colby added a two-run blast in a 7-2 victory over East Greenwich.
Division II South
The Prout School (11-2) relied on starter David Horsfield and reliever Jon Sartell, who combined on a four-hitter, to overcome Our Lady of Fatima, 14-1, in its last game. The Crusaders are averaging over 10 runs a game, with Graham Manning as their slugging leader.
Second-place Exeter/West Greenwich (10-3) is another offensive-minded team and has been on a tear the last three games, outscoring rivals by 37-5 overall in wins over Davies, Mount Pleasant and Central Falls.
In the last two contests, the Scarlet Knights received stellar two-hit pitching by starters Joe Bourgeous, and then by Mike Farias (with relief help from Jimmy Meiklejohn). Their offense is spearheaded by Andrew Varone, Bourgeous, with timely hitting from many other teammates.
Division II East
Mt. Hope High (11-2) has a two-game margin over second-place Tolman (9-4), helped by its last win, 20-0, over Juanita Sanchez on a two-hit, five-inning shutout by Josh Ribeiro as two players almost hit for the cycle. Curtis Burke had five hits – a homer, double and three singles – and Corey Lescault recorded a single, double and homer. Mt. Hope has lost two games by a total of three runs.
Russ Waterman covers Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the New England Preps for MaxPreps.com. He may be reached at email@example.com.