Photo Gallery | Hoosac Valley vs Frontier
AMHERST — Frontier Regional School scored five times in the first two innings and got another solid starting pitching performance en route to a 8-2 victory over Hoosac Valley Regional School in the Western Massachusetts Division III baseball tournament semifinals Wednesday afternoon at Earl Lorden Field.
The third-seeded Red Hawks (17-3) advance to Saturday morning's Western Mass. title game, where they will face fourth-seeded Wahconah Regional High School, which knocked off top-seeded South Hadley High School, 13-9, in the other Wednesday semifinal.
Hoosac got one run in the sixth when Jake Swistak reached on an error and scored on a two-out RBI single by Keagan McGrath. The Hurricanes added one final run in the seventh when J.P. Levesque walked and scored after Sistrunk hit a fly ball into foul territory that Frontier's Kyle Spencer dove to snag for the second out of the inning.
Koperniak suffered the loss, striking out three and walking five in five innings. He heads to Trinity College next season, where he will play baseball for Frontier graduate and current head coach Bryan Adamski.
The Red Hawks have not had any secret to their success through the first two games of the tournament. Solid pitching, timely hitting, and capitalizing on mistakes, while not making any of their own, has been the recipe to a pair of wins.
Frontier starting pitcher Nate Patterson worked six-plus innings against the 10th-seeded Hurricanes (14-9), who had already upset seventh-seeded Mt. Greylock Regional High School, and second-seeded Southwick-Tolland High School to reach the semifinals.
Patterson did not allow a run through the first five innings, allowing the Hawks to build a 8-0 lead before allowing single runs in the final two innings. Patterson finished with two strikeouts and allowed three hits and four walks in six innings. He was lifted in the seventh after allowing the first two hitters to reach, but reliever Evan Bourque got three straight outs (allowing one run to score on a sacrifice fly) to close out the Hawks win.
"My strikeouts were a little low today but I trust my defense," Patterson said.
Frontier coach Chris Williams said that the team goes as its starting pitching goes.
"We knew coming in to it that the outcome of today kind of rested on Nate's shoulder," he said. "If he's on, I think he's as good as any pitcher in Western Mass., and I was very confident that he was going to rise to the occasion today."
Patterson also benefited from early run support. The Red Hawks scored twice in the first inning and three times in the second, taking advantage of walks and errors.