Sunday July 7, 2013

NORTH ADAMS -- There was a constant refrain emanating from the Pittsfield dugout.

"It's a long game, seven innings," the players from the Babe Ruth 15-year-old All-Star team said over and over.

It was a reminder that a three-run hole after one inning didn't mean the District 1 championship was lost against North Adams.

"We're like, ‘Look, we have a lot of time. Don't get down if you make an error. Come back and make the next play or make up for it with your bat,' " said Pittsfield's Nate Stump. "I think the whole team got that mentality and we came out and finally just grinded out a win."

Stump was a big part of two Pittsfield rallies in an 8-6 victory at the Alcombright Athletic Complex. The left fielder was 3 for 4, scored twice and knocked in the game-winning runs with a single in the sixth. Kevin Squires and Alex Weber added two RBI each.

Pittsfield now heads to the state tournament as the District champs. North Adams earns an automatic berth as the host team.

"It's a huge boost," said Pittsfield assistant coach Darren Rufo, filling in for manager Jim Conant. "They know what they can do and we come here to play [the state tournament]."

North Adams manager Joe Altiere said his team was "hyped" on Saturday after beating Pittsfield the night before to force this decisive game. That momentum seemed to carry over when Jake Swistak drove in two in the first to give the hosts an early 3-0 lead.


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But Pittsfield came back with five in the second, sparked by a leadoff double from Stump. North Adams seemed to regain composure with two in the bottom of the second. Jesse Dilego gave starter Brodie Altiere a second lead with an RBI triple in the third to put North Adams up 6-5.

That was no problem for Pittsfield. Stump and his crew simply put six guys on base over the next two innings to retake the lead for good.

"They came to play," said North Adams manager Joe Altiere. "They were just hitting everything, no matter what Brodie was trying."

North Adams didn't score a run over the last four innings against Pittsfield pitcher Chris Tracy after lighting up the scoreboard for six in the first three frames. Pittsfield's message of patience paid off, giving the guests a district title that amounted to bragging rights with both teams guaranteed a spot at states.

That didn't mean Stump was any less excited.

"I think some people would have the mentality, ‘Look, it doesn't matter if we win or lose. We're still going to go to the states,' " Stump said. "But you don't want to go into there without momentum or coming off a loss. And you always want to win."

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Pittsfield 8, North Adams 6

Pittsfield 050 012 0 -- 8 11 2

N. Adams 321 000 0 -- 6 9 1

Chris Tracy and Kevin Squires; Brodie Altiere and Cody Crosier. W -- Tracy. L -- Altiere. 2B -- Pittsfield 3 (Nate Stump 2, Alex Weber); North Adams 2 (Schuyler Robinson 2). 3B -- North Adams 1 (Jesse Dilego).