PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield American 11-12-year-old All-Stars used the long ball to propel themselves into the Section I championship game.
The team hit four total home runs, including a grand slam in a 10-run fourth, leading to a 15-2 win over Holden at Deming Park.
Pittsfield led 5-1 after three innings before blowing open the game. Dylan Trova led off the fourth with a walk, Luke Mele singled and Patrick Rindfuss dropped down a well-placed bunt for a single, loading the bases.
Brendan Stannard stepped to the plate, fouling off several pitches before launching the ball into centerfield for the slam. Owen Kroboth followed with a single. He moved to third on Bo Bramer's single and scored on a wild pitch. Michael Britton followed with a two-run home run, putting Pittsfield up 11-1.
Trova reached base for the second time in the inning with a single and Rindfuss plated him with a single. Mele scored on a wild pitch and Stannard drove in the final run with a double.
"That was crazy because it was a close game at the time," Stannard said of the grand slam. "We had to hit and we delivered. It was awesome.
"Everyone can hit in our lineup and everyone is confident. Coach [Perrault] always says if you're not confident, there's no way you're going to get a hit. So we have to be confident and we were today."
Stannard led the offense, going 4 for 4 with two home runs and seven runs batted in. Josh Zennon and Stannard each had two-run blasts in the third inning.
Holden started strong, taking a 1-0 lead on Sean Verrier's opposite field home run in the first. Verrier performed well on the mound as well, stranding two runners in scoring position for a scoreless first. Verrier allowed a leadoff single in the second, before giving way to reliever Koli Johns. Pittsfield scored once off Johns, and the offense continued to roll as the game progressed.
Holden coach Scott Verrier said pulling his starter was part of the gameplan.
"Based on our team, [Sean] needed to pitch today or tomorrow for us," Scott Verrier said. "The plan was [David] Prosser was going to pitch and Sean was going come in and throw 20 [pitches] at the end if we needed him. But because they're both catchers I flip-flopped it. Sean got his 20 pitches to start and moved behind the plate the rest of the game."
Orion Swayze led off the fourth with a single for Holden. Teddy Benoit advanced him with a single and Adam Bates drove him in with a single for the visitors' final runs of the game. Verrier led Holden with two hits. Aiden McGee also had a single.
Holden will play the winner of Westfield American and Leominster American on Friday.
Kieran Coscia earned the win on the mound, pitching two and one-third innings. Stannard recorded two outs in the third, and Trova pitched the fourth.
Pittsfield received solid pitching, but coach Ty Perrault said his job is easy when his team is swinging well on offense.
"You just sit back, coach first base and wheel them around," he said. "We're all swinging right now. Things are going our way and we're hitting the ball. Right through the lineup, we're letting them swing. If they like the first pitch, they go after it."