SOUTH KINGSTOWN — For a while it didn't look like either team would win Tuesday's preliminary-round Connie Mack baseball state tournament game.
It only appeared that one of them would lose it.
But Chariho got its act together and emerged with an 11-9 victory over Warwick PAL at Curtis Corner Middle School.
Chariho swept the best-of-three series, 2-0, and will travel to Narragansett on Friday for the first game of quarterfinal series. Narragansett had a bye in the preliminary round.
Chariho trailed 5-0 after half an inning without allowing a hit. But Chariho came back to lead 10-5 after just two innings. It was that kind of game.
In the first two innings, the two teams combined for 13 walks, a balk, a hit batter, three errors and four wild pitches. The two teams sent 35 batters to the plate over the first two innings.
Chariho coach Cal Carpenter was confident his team could score runs, but he was a bit concerned with a 5-0 deficit.
"We didn't want it to get to be too much," Carpenter said.
Chariho's Jack Kesner had a big night at the plate, finishing 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. He drove one double over the right fielder's head and another deep to the gap in right-center field.
But it was Kesner's bloop single to right field in the first inning that might have been the biggest hit of them all. Chariho trailed 5-1 at the time, with Josh Smithey (2 for 3) on third and Justin Giles at second with two outs.
If Warwick could have limited Chariho to just one run in the inning, it could have changed the momentum of the game.
Instead, the 6-foot-3, 208-pound Kesner came through with the big hit.
"I was really working on making contact in that at-bat," Kesner said. "I really had my timing down tonight. I concentrated on loading and keeping my weight back."
Coach Carpenter said Kesner's hit was a critical one.
"We were hoping to climb back in it. Getting four runs in the first was big. [Kesner] was on fire tonight," Carpenter said.
Chariho finished with four runs in the first to make it 5-4.
In the second inning, Chariho added six more runs to lead 10-5. John Pellegrino had a stand-up, two-run triple that rolled to the fence.
Smithey and Riley Culotta both singled in runs. Kenser delivered a run-scoring double. Cyrus Seeley opened the inning with a double. Chariho sent 10 batters to the plate.
Chariho (8-8) got a big relief performance from Culotta.
He entered the game with two outs in the first and a runner on second. He recorded an out on a comebacker to end the inning.
Culotta would go on to allow two runs on five hits over four innings to earn the win. He struck out three.
"I thought Culotta was absolutely huge for us," Carpenter said.
Nate Barrett also contributed two of Chariho's 13 hits.
Pellegrino pitched the final 2⅓ innings, retiring seven of the eight batters he faced.
Warwick recorded a rather unusual out to lead off the fifth. Smithey hit a fly ball in foul territory near first base. Warwick first baseman Nathan Ricci had just settled under the ball when it nicked off his glove. But second baseman Dylan Farrell, who was also in foul territory, snagged the ball out of the air for the out.