PITTSFIELD >> Pittsfield Post 68 continued its tour de force through the American Legion Western Massachusetts tournament, reaching double digits for the third game in a row, leading to a 10-3 win over Westfield Post 124 on Friday at Clapp Park.
Pittsfield will next play Sunday at Clapp at 2 p.m. against an opponent to be determined.
Ethan Forfa earned the win for Post 68. He allowed five hits, three walks and two earned runs. Early control issues led to leadoff walks to Nick Clegg in the first and third innings, respectively. Clegg scored after each base on balls. In the fifth, he added his team's final run of the game after doubling, advancing on a ground out and coming home on an error.
Forfa entered the game with a light workload, but once he settled down, Westfield did not make much hard contact against him.
"The walks killed me in the first inning," Forfa said. "I just didn't really have it the first inning. I got into a groove from the third to sixth. I felt good except for the first couple innings."
Jake Flynn walked one and struck out one in a scoreless seventh.
Post 68 collected 11 hits, including four extra-base hit and they added in coach Pat Bassi's signature small-ball approach as well.
They broke the game open with a six-run fourth. Patrick Colvin led off with a single. Abdiel Cotto-Hernandez dropped a well-placed bunt down the first-base line, and Chad Shade followed with a bunt of his own, loading the bases.
Colvin and Cotto-Hernandez scored on wild pitches. Matt Koperniak plated two with a single and Matt Schneider capped the rally with an RBI double.
Schneider was a home run short of the cycle, going 4 for 4 with four RBI and two runs scored. The future Assumption College catcher bounced two balls off the right field fence for doubles, as the right-hander said he's working on taking the ball to the opposite field. Colvin went 3 for 3 with a run scored.
Cotto-Hernandez had a sacrifice bunt in addition to the bunt single. Batting out of the No. 9 spot, Cotto-Hernandez rarely gets the green light with runners on base, but he said with his speed, he's willingly accepted his role.
"I know my coaches are expecting me to get on base anyway I can — walk, bunting or getting a hit," he said. "I don't mind [bunting] because I think of getting a bunt [down] as the same thing as getting a single."
Bassi credited Shade for deciding to bunt on his own and executing during the big inning. Pittsfield has speed at every spot in the lineup, highlighted by the four stolen bases against Westfield. Even with the offense red hot, Bassi said a well-timed bunt can also be deadly.
"I have green lights for anybody on the team. If they see an opening, they take it," he said. "[Shade] saw it and — boom. That opened up the inning. It got us bases loaded and we went off from that. So it was great."
Devon Baker (3), Brett Turban (3) and Jon Huntley. Ethan Forfa (6), Jake Flynn (1) and Matt Schneider. W — Forfa. L — Baker. 2B — W 2 (Nick Clegg, Jack Blake). P 3 (Schneider 2, Patrick Colvin). 3B — P 1 (Schneider).
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252