Tuesday August 21, 2012

VAN BUREN, Ark. -- It's taking Pittsfield's Babe Ruth 15-year-old All-Stars a long time to get through pool play at the Babe Ruth 13-15 World Series. After two days, they've still only completed one game.

"It seems like the baseball gods are kind of messing with us here," Pittsfield manager Bob Shade said Monday night.

A day after beating tournament host Van Buren 4-1 -- in a game that ended at approximately 1:35 a.m. EDT Monday because it started almost three hours late due to rain and an earlier extra-inning game -- Pittsfield and Niskayuna, N.Y., will have to finish their pool-play game today.

The teams were tied at 9 after eight innings on Monday when tournament organizers suspended the game due to the scheduled "Banquet of Champions" for the players on all 10 teams in the World Series.

The game will resume at noon EDT on Tuesday with Pittsfield batting as the visiting team. Pittsfield (1-0) is also scheduled to play at 3:15 p.m. EDT against Southeast Regional champion Lumber River, N.C.

Bobby New is scheduled to start on the mound for Pittsfield against Lumber River, but that could change if today's continuation takes longer than Shade and his staff would like.

Niskayuna loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but reliever Devon Johnston got Kyle Pick to foul out to first and sent the game to the ninth by striking out Tyler Hamft.


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"I went out and talked to him and just told him, ‘You've just got to attack them,' " Shade said of his meeting with Johnston. "That's what he did. He fell behind 3-0, got the guy to pop up and we got out of the inning. He really did a nice job on focusing on what he had to do."

Johnston will likely be back on the hill in the bottom of the ninth inning today.

"Devon's still got a lot of pitches left in him," Shade said. "We're hoping to get this game over early, so it doesn't eat into our pitching too much."

Pittsfield's Kevin Donati scored three runs and drove in three -- including a home run -- in a game that has featured five lead changes. Shade thought that, before Monday's game, Donati was pressing and swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. He had gone 0 for 4 in the win over Van Buren.

"When he hit the homer, I think it's actually what he needed to get himself going," Shade said. "I think he refocused. He's a key to our offense at the top of our order. If [the top of the order gets] on, we'll win a lot of ballgames."

Donati's two-run homer in the third inning gave Pittsfield a 2-1 lead, but Niskayuna -- the Middle Atlantic Regional champion -- responded with a four-run fourth, on a pair of two-RBI doubles, to take a 5-2 lead.

Pittsfield tied the game in the fifth inning, as Donati doubled in Alex Carusotto and Mitch Clary singled in a pair of runs. Niskayuna took the lead back with a run in the bottom of the inning, but Pittsfield scored three times in the top of the sixth to take an 8-6 lead.

They left the bases loaded in the sixth, however, and Niska yuna took advantage against reliever New, using walks to tie the score at 8 before starting pitcher Joey Dewey returned. He gave up an RBI groundout before getting out of the inning, and Niskayuna was up 9-8 with only three outs to record.

"Joey pitched a great game, but we thought he was running out of gas," Shade said. "Bobby had a little trouble with the strike zone -- I thought he was getting squeezed a little."

Pittsfield forced extras by loading the bases with one out. Chad Shade grounded to short, but the throw to second pulled the second baseman off the bag. All runners were safe, and Dewey scored to tie the game.

The Southwest (Ark.) Times Record contributed to this article.