PROVIDENCE — If Chariho High is to win the Division I softball tournament, the Chargers will have to take the long way now.
Top-seeded Pilgrim used a five-run third inning and the effective pitching of Cat Fallon to down the Chargers, 9-0, Tuesday night at Rhode Island College.
Fifth-seeded Chariho drops into the losers bracket of the double-elimination tournament and will travel to Coventry Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. for an elimination game.
Coventry lost to La Salle, 4-1, in the first game of the day at RIC.
If the Chargers had won Tuesday’s game, they would have needed only two more consecutive victories for the state crown. Now they must win four straight to make it happen.
“Give them credit, they outhit us tonight,” Chariho coach Dave Petrocelli said. “What it comes down to is, we got behind on batters too much tonight, too many 2-0 and 3-2 counts. They are good hitters. You just can’t lay it in there.”
After scoring a run in the first, Pilgrim broke open the game with its five-run third.
Fallon led off the inning with a single. One out later, Chariho pitcher Kate Powers walked the next two batters.
No. 8 hitter Lily Brown (2 for 3) delivered a two-run single to right field, and No. 9 hitter Amelia Murphy followed with a single to bring in another run and give Pilgrim (21-1) a 4-0 lead.
Another run scored on a passed ball, and leadoff hitter Madi D’Amato singled in a run for Pilgrim’s third straight hit to make it 6-0.
With the big lead, Fallon settled in and retired nine of the next 11 Chargers in order before giving up a pair of hits in the seventh. She finished with 11 strikeouts and allowed just five hits.
Chariho (19-4) had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the top of the third only trailing 1-0.
Caitlin O’Leary (1 for 3) was hit by a pitch, and one out later, Powers (2 for 2, double) singled to center field. O’Leary went to third on the play and Powers ended up at second as the Patriots threw to third base on the hit.
But Fallon came back with a big strikeout to end the inning and end Chariho’s best threat.
Chariho catcher Chloe Joslin left the game in the middle of the third inning.
She had been hit in the jaw by a sharp foul tip while batting in the third. She appeared to be OK and continued with the at-bat. But she had to leave when she was catching in the third with an apparent injury resulting from the foul tip. Her status for Wednesday’s game is uncertain.
“Thank God we have double elimination,” Petrocelli said. “We go to Coventry. Hopefully, we will win and stay alive. Hats off to Pilgrim, but we will be back.”
Powers pitched three innings to take the loss. She struck out four.