Battistoni perfect for RI Thunder at 12U Finch Invitational

By DN WRITING STAFF | April 21, 2024

RI Thunder pitcher Piper Battistoni flips to Ava Guerrera for one of her nine perfect game outs. 

By Sean Reilly

The Rhode Island Thunder Gold 12U were in need of a spark, and Piper Battistoni was ready, willing and able to provide it. 

Battistoni went 3-for-3 at the plate and pitched a three-inning perfect game when the Thunder rolled to a 17-0 victory over the NEPA WolfPack in its second of three games on Saturday at Jennie Finch’s 12U Pink Division Spring Invitational at Diamond Nation in Flemington. 

The win came after a 5-3 loss to the Empire State Huskies-Hotle in their tournament opener earlier in the morning. And that came after a season-opening event last weekend in New Hampshire in which the Thunder played well, but also felt it could have fared better. 

“We went to New Hampshire and we played good, but didn’t play our best,” she said. “

And after starting the weekend in New Jersey with a loss, the Thunder were determined to make amends in the matchup against the WolfPack. Their Pennsylvania opponent played to an 8-8 tie against the PA Strikers in their morning opener.

Wolfpack first baseman Reagan West keeps an eye on batter and RI Thunder’s Charlotte Shevlin. 

The Thunder started the top of the first against WolfPack with walks to Taylor Vroman and Ellie Klingel. 

Battistoni was up next, and she clubbed a two-run triple to left-center field. The throw to third skipped a few feet away from the third baseman, and Battistoni made an aggressive dash toward the plate. It was a risky move, but it paid off when the fielder couldn’t handle the ball cleanly. 

Almost immediately, the RI Thunder had a 3-0 lead. 

“I was thinking that I needed to help my team right now,” Battistoni said. “I wasn’t looking for any pitch, I was just looking to hit it. The play at third was something to get my team going. It was a good way to start the game.” 

The next batter was Charlotte Fico, who walked. A ground out and wild pitch moved her to third. Marissa Lombardo walked and took second base, leading to a two-run single to left field by Gabby Ely. 

Ely took second base on a throw, and stole third. Ava Guerrera also walked and continued to second. Maeve O’Connell followed with a two-run single to left field for a 7-0 lead. 

In the bottom of the inning, Battistoni retired the side on a pitcher-to-first ground out, line drive to third and strikeout.

The RI Thunder scored five more times in the second inning. After a leadoff walk to Klingel, she scored on single past third by Battistoni. A ground out to shortstop by Fico scored Battistoni for a 9-0 lead.

Ellie Petrone was hit by a pitch and Lombardo walked, and a ground out to third by Ely scored Petrone. The second two-run single by O’Connell extended the advantage to 12-0. 

Battistoni’s second inning of pitching resulted in a ground out to first, with the second baseman covering, another pitcher-to-first grounder and a strike out.

Gabby Ely connects on two-run, first-inning single for the RI Thunder.

The RI Thunder scored five more times in the third. Caroline Sarnowski and Vroman began the inning with singles, and both scored on wild pitches. Klingel walked for the third time and scored on a single by Battistoni. 

Fico singled, and two errors on the play scored Battistoni and sent Fico to third. Lombardi’s ground out to third scored Fico with the 17th run. 

The Thunder ended with 10 hits, while also drawing nine walks. All 11 players in the lineup reached base at least once, with seven getting aboard multiple times.

Battistoni closed out her three-inning perfect game, (due to the mercy rule) by getting two strikeouts and a ground out to second. 

“My curve was working, and so was my drop curve,” she said. 

The Thunder ended the day with a 1-2 record after falling, 3-0, to the PA Strikers. The Strikers ended the day with a 2-0-1 record. 

The WolfPack lost to the Empire State Huskies in the third game to conclude Saturday with a 0-2-1 record.

All 20 teams in the Pink Division will compete in the playoffs on Sunday, with the championship game set for 3:40 p.m.

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