PITTSFIELD -- Lane Grogan pitched seven gritty innings and batterymate Dom Traversa cracked a pair of doubles to lead the Tyler Aces to a 6-2 win over Post 68 in the American Legion baseball playoffs Saturday morning at Clapp Park.
That win means the two teams will do it all over again today, this time at noon, again at Clapp. The winner goes on to the state tournament.
"He had everything working today," said Traversa of his pitcher. "He was hitting all his spots pretty consistently.
Grogan went the distance, as did his opposite number, Jordan Barbarotta. Grogan gave up 10 singles, walked three and struck out six.
"Lane pitched a heck of a game for us today," said Aces coach Bill Dassat. "We got some timely hitting and some great defense, and now we're right where we want to be."
"These two teams have a rivalry that goes back years," said Post coach Jim Mazzer. "It seems like it always comes down to one game. Today, we got off to a slow start and we never recovered."
That is an accurate assessment. The first five Aces batters in the game reached base, resulting in three runs. The big hits were a two-run double by Traversa and another double, which scored one run, by Anthony Jones.
In the third, Tanner Hanford tripled to right field, and scored on a single by Traversa.
On the day, Traversa had three hits, including a pair of doubles, four RBI and scored two runs from his cleanup position.
"I was seeing the ball real well today," said Traversa. "I felt pretty good."
Traversa and Jones collected an RBI each in the fifth, also.
The middle of the Aces lineup was poisonous for Post. Along with Traversa, Hanford, hitting third, was also 3 for 4, with two singles and a triple, and scored three runs. Jones, in the fifth spot, was 2 for 3 with a walk and two RBI.
But Jones was perhaps more lethal in the field. He fielded five chances cleanly at shortstop, and initiated two double plays.
"I had some great defense behind me," said Grogan.
Post's offense was less productive, but they had their chances. The home team scored twice in the fourth, on Joe Dewey's two-run single. In the fifth, they had runners at the corners, with one out, but the Aces turned a double play.
In the sixth, Post had the bases loaded with two outs, but Grogan induced Kyle Card to hit a one-hopper back to him for the final out of the inning. In the seventh, the home team had runners at first and second, but Grogan struck out catcher Brian Bonacquisti to end the game.
"Is it a big rivalry?" asked Grogan rhetorically. "Yes, it is. Maybe more so for Dom and the guys from Pittsfield. I'm from Washington. But we're still a team and we still want to beat those guys."
Dewey and Josh Berthiaume each had two hits for Post, while Barbarotta allowed 13 hits, struck out seven and walked three to take the loss.
"We didn't play too well today, but I thought Jordan gave me everything he had," said Mazzer. "I have a feeling we'll play a little better [today]."
Tyler Aces 301 020 0 -- 6 13 2
Post 68 000 200 0 -- 2 10 2
Lane Grogan and Dom Traversa. Jordan Barbarotta and Brian Bonacquisti. WP -- Grogan. LP -- Barbarotta. 2B -- TA 5 (Traversa 2, Anthony Jones, Justin Hopkins, Connor Lein) 3B -- TA 1 (Tanner Hanford).