PITTSFIELD >> Pittsfield Post 68's bid for a repeat state championship got off to a strong start with a 10-0 win over East Longmeadow Post 293 in the opening round of the American Legion playoffs on Saturday at Clapp Park.
Post 68 collected 12 hits and capitalized on four East Longmeadow errors. Pittsfield scored four times in the first, as Chad Shade scored from third on Matt Koperniak's sacrifice fly and Brett Murphy, Izaiya Mestre and Patrick Colvin added RBI singles. The four runs were more than enough support for starter Sam Fick.
"It's huge getting momentum," Colvin said of scoring early. "That's how you win and lose games, so right off the bat you want to come out hot and show 'em that you're there to play."
Playing with a lead allowed Fick to pitch with confidence. He allowed only one hit, struck out two and walked two in five innings.
In the fourth, a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt put a runner in scoring position for East Longmeadow. A passed ball moved the runner to third, but Colvin made a diving stop at third base, freezing the runner and allowing him to apply the tag and save a run. Fick struck out Jonathan Scaffo to end the inning.
"I was feeling pretty good," Fick said. "The mound was a little iffy, but I was able to work with it. I was throwing mostly fastballs because I could trust my defense. They were making plays behind me all day. That's all I needed."
Post 68 scored once in third, as Koperniak's triple set up an RBI ground out from Murphy. They added three more in the fourth as Shade legged out an inside-the-park home run with a line drive down the left field line. Jack Cooney scored on a delayed steal and Koperniak scored on an E6, putting the team up 8-0.
In the sixth, Jake Flynn scored on a throwing error and Murphy plated Nate Stump with a ground out for the final run of the game. Koperniak had two hits, two runs scored, a stolen base and a RBI. Shade had two hits, two steals, two runs scored and a RBI. Murphy had three RBI.
The win gives Pittsfield a 1-0 series lead over East Longmeadow in the best-of-three, setting up an elimination game today at noon. Post 68 coach Pat Bassi said the win was a great way to start the postseason.
"It helps us a lot and it sets the stage for what we've got to do," he said. "This game was a great team-building game. Everybody got a chance to contribute. ... We know that it's not going to get any easier as time goes on. Tomorrow we play the same team again and we need to do more of the same."
Aidan Baxter (3 2/3), Joe Baxter (2 2/3) and Collin Piemonte. Sam Fick (5), Ross Omelenchick (1), Michael Hurley (1) and Bretty Murphy (6), Nate Stump (1). W — Fick. L — A. Baxter. 2B — EL 1 (Piemonte). 3B — P 1 (Matt Koperniak). HR — P 1 (Chad Shade).
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252