LANESBOROUGH — Lanesboro Bulldogs manager Rick Paris admitted that 9 a.m. might not be the optimal time to start a baseball game. It turns out he didn't need to worry.
Panay Constantopoulos tossed a complete-game, six-hitter and went 2 for 3 with a two-run home run as the Bulldogs advanced to the Cal Ripken 12U state championship winners' bracket final with a 7-4 win over Greenfield Saturday morning at Bill Laston Field.
"You always get concerned with young kids, whether they'll be awake enough," said Paris, "or ready to go."
The only thing the Bulldogs lost Saturday was the pregame coin flip to determine home team. They scored a run in the first, added three in the second — two on a home run by Constantopoulos — and advanced in the winners' bracket.
"I kind of got on them a little during infield-outfield," said the manager. "They seemed they were a little lackadaisical."
There wasn't much to worry about as the Bulldogs, who beat Westminster in Friday's opening round, will now play Turners Falls in the winners' bracket final. Turners Falls beat Narragansett 10-7 in Saturday's other morning game. Narragansett had beaten South Berkshire in the first round on Friday.
Tournament play continues today with games in the losers' bracket and the losers' bracket championship game. The title game is July 5 at 5:30 p.m., with the "If" game July 6 at the same time.
A 10-hit attack backed up the solid performance on the mound by Constantopoulos. The right-hander struck out 11 in the game, had at least one punch out in each inning, and picked up strikeout No. 11 when he got T.J. Thibeault swinging for the game's final out.
"It was a makeshift mound, so when you go pitch, it kind of forms and you sink into it a little bit. It made me throw a little bit lower," said the Bulldogs pitcher.
His manager was very happy with the performance.
"He was throwing a lot of strikes," said Paris. "He was hitting his spots for the most part. He did have a curve ball once or twice.
"He pitched well. He stepped up to the plate and when the pressure was on, he performed."
He also literally stepped up to the plate and performed.
With one out in the third, Derek Paris singled to left and scored on a double to left by Landon Jamula. Constantopoulos then hit an 0-1 pitch the other way, sailing the ball over the fence in right-center for a two-run home run. That gave the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead.
It was 5-0 when Greenfield scored three times in the home fifth. Hunter Haughey scored on the back end of a double-steal and then Chris Ryan hit an opposite-field, two-run homer to left. It was the first of two homers hit by Ryan, who had a solo blast in the bottom of the sixth.
Jack Gitterman capped off the Bulldogs scoring with a two-run home run in the sixth.
"I'm hoping to win, because this is everyone's last year for this," said Constantopoulos. "We want to win this two years in a row."
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.