Johnston earns spot in Senior League title game
The Johnston Senior League All-Stars won their first state tournament game on Saturday, beating Darlington Senior Little League, 8-1.
Johnston then faced off against South Kingstown Senior League on Sunday in the winners’ bracket final and won, 7-6, in a close battle.
It was a pitchers’ dual for the first four innings as both pitchers, Bobby Civetti for Johnston and Harry Loud for South Kingstown, each allowed just two hits through four innings.
South Kingstown struck first in the top of the fifth inning with three runs after a couple miscues by Johnston’s defense and three hits in the inning.
Johnston came back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning after some great hustle by Matt Loffredo on the base path and four hits in the inning.
However, South Kingstown struck back in the top of the seventh inning and scored three more runs on four hits to take a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the inning. Johnston’s No. 9 hitter, center fielder Mike Castelli, led off the bottom of the seventh with a single. The South Kingstown starter, Loud, then had to be removed from the game after hitting his pitch count limit and allowing seven hits over his six innings of work. South Kingston brought in pitcher Lucas Crook to try and close out the game.
Civetti came to the plate and got a single, which was followed up by a two-run double by Miguel Perez to bring Johnston to within one run. Alex Rodriquez then drew a walk, bringing Loffredo to the plate. Loffredo hit into a fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning, but he moved the tying run to third base. Loffredo then stole second and Eric O’Connor drew a walk to load the bases with one out.
South Kingstown brought in Sam Craven to try and get the final two outs.
Johnston’s Tyler Roche came to the plate with the bases loaded and tying run at third base. Roche was hit by the third pitch thrown to him, which brought home Perez to tie the score at 6. Craven was able to get Johnston’s Justin Salvatore to hit into a fielder’s choice from third to home for the second out of the inning. Johnston’s Josh Tonucci (the ninth batter of the inning) came to the plate with the winning run 90 feet away. Tonucci battled with Craven to a full count. Then, with two outs and a 3-2 count, Tonucci was able to hit a single up the middle to cap off Johnston’s comeback.
Civetti pitched a complete game for Johnston, battling a strong hitting South Kingstown team. He relied on his defense to make the outs as he was unable to record any strikeouts against the South Kingstown batters, scattering nine hits over seven innings.
Johnston will play the winner of Darlington and South Kingstown on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Bentley Field in Cumberland for the state title and a chance to advance to the Regional Tournament in New Jersey.