WESTERLY — Westerly High knew it had to be close to perfection against Division I Chariho High in Saturday night's nonleague softball game at Cimalore Field.
For an inning, the Division II Bulldogs weren't and it cost them in a big way. Chariho scored 10 runs in the fourth and defeated the Bulldogs, 11-0, in a game halted after five innings by the mercy rule.
Chariho (17-3) has beaten Westerly (13-6) 18 straight times, starting with the 2008 season. Westerly's last victoroy in the series came in 2007.
"They hit the ball well in the first couple of innings; they had people on, but we made the plays. We gave up nothing," Westerly coach Chris Luppe said. "That inning they still hit the ball well, but there were at least three plays we could have made that we could have limited them to one or two runs.
"You can get away with that against an average hitting team. You can't get away with that against a strong hitting team."
Chariho's Annaliese Kenney (2 for 4) and Jackie Altieri opened the fourth with singles. Westerly was slow to react on a bunt by Avo Rao and she was safe at first to load the bases.
Westerly then dropped a ball in the outfield allowing a run to score. Casey Mastin then reached on a bunt when the Bulldogs failed to cover first base.
Caitlin O'Leary (2 for 2) brought home a run with a sacrifice fly. O'Leary has 40 hits this season.
Kate Powers (2 for 4, four RBIs) followed by ripping a three-run triple to right-center field to make it 6-0.
Later in the inning, Rao brought home a run on a fielder's choice, and Lucie Willett singled home two runs. Six of the Chariho runs in the inning were earned.
"I was pleased with the way we hit the ball. We had some hard shots," Chariho coach Dave Petrocelli said. "[Westerly pitcher Ally Northup] pitched us well the first time through the order."
Powers pitched the first four innings and earned the win for Chariho, retiring the first eight Bulldogs in order. She allowed just two hits — singles by Alex Mitchell and Hannah Nicholson — and struck out eight.
Powers said the Westerly game has intensity, but perhaps not as much as some league games for the Chargers.
"It's Westerly and Chariho so it's always a rivalry," she said. "This one, if we lost there is no consequence, but nobody likes to lose."
Haylie Wellman was 2 for 3 with a double for Chariho. Nicholson was the only Westerly player with two hits.
Chariho is the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Division I tournament. The RIIL website incorrectly had the Chargers as a third seed. It has been corrected. Petrocelli said the Chariho opponent has not been finalized, but he is planning on a home game Tuesday.
Chariho lost two of its final four league games, including an unexpected setback to East Providence.
"Losing to East Providence was kind of like a wake-up call," Powers said. "Any team can beat us at any time. We have to have our heads in it. We still definitely have a lot to prove."
Northup pitched all five innings for Westerly and took the loss.
Luppe said the Bulldogs will host a Division II playoff game on Wednesday.