Saturday May 26, 2012

WILLIAMSTOWN -- There is no formal Berkshire County baseball championship game, so the Berkshire Classic game between the first-place teams in the North and South acts as a de facto title tilt.

That fact was secondary to the Mount Greylock baseball team. After the Mounties edged Taconic 2-1 Friday afternoon, the thoughts weren't about what they accomplished. They were thinking about the future.

"It's all about the seed," Greylock second baseman Billy Pulasky said. "We're looking for a home playoff game. We haven't had one in [a while].

"It's good momentum beating a good team like Taconic."

Both teams have qualified for their respective Western Mass. tournaments. By beating a Division I tournament team, the Mounties have probably helped their seed.

Taconic's Peter Gregory had quite a day. He gave up two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out nine. Gregory was matched by Greylock's Robbie Buffis, who gave up one run on four hits. He didn't walk a batter until the seventh inning and struck out four.

The Mounties got those two runs on three hits in the first inning. After that, Gregory didn't give up another hit. The Mounties only had two more baserunners -- both reaching on walks.

"Wow, I didn't know that," Greylock coach Steve Messina said. "I'm glad I didn't know during the game. I'd have been stressed out a little bit more."

In fact, after Gregory walked Josh Fortier with two outs in the fourth inning, he retired the final seven hitters of the game.

"It was like a tournament-game atmosphere," said Gregory.

That atmosphere was amped up in the top of the seventh.

With a steady rain starting between the sixth and seventh, Buffis issued a one-out walk to pinch-hitter Jake Carlson and then walked Myles Candelet on four pitches with two outs.

Taconic leadoff hitter Luke Toomey looked at a ball and Messina bounced out of the dugout because Buffis strained his side. Buffis threw two more balls and before Messina almost crossed the white line, he was sent back to the dugout by umpire Don Singleton. Coaches are only allowed one trip to the mound per batter.

"He was going out. He was definitely going out," said Messina. "I wasn't aware of the rule. If that guy had gotten on, he was coming out."

Toomey worked a 3-1 count and hit the next pitch high in the air. Greylock first baseman Josh Fortier made the grab to end the game.

"I was nervous, but what [Messina] said settled me down," said Buffis. "He just said ‘Calm down, throw strikes and your defense will play behind you.' I knew they would play behind me."

The Mounties got a two-out double from Eddie Dufur in the first inning that scored two runs. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Dufur hit an 0-1 pitch to right. Taconic right fielder Jordan Barbarotta dove but couldn't come up with the catch. Eric Leitch and Pulasky scored, but Andrew Leitch was thrown out on a perfect relay from Barbarotta to Liam Nolan to Brian Bonacquisti.

The Braves made it 2-1 in the top of the fourth. Taconic had runners on first and third when Hunter Stanton doubled to right. Bonacquisti scored, but Taconic got no more runs because Buffis retired Nolan on a grounder to Pulasky at second.

"Both pitchers pitched great. The defenses were solid. There was a lack of hitting, especially on our part," Taconic coach Kevin Stannard said. "I was hoping to hit the ball a little better going into the tournament. We're going to have to try and work on that. Over the last two years, we've struggled in Western Mass. scoring runs too."

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Taconic 000 100 0--1 4 0

Greylock 200 000 x--2 3 1

Peter Gregory and Brian Bonacquisti. Robbie Buffis and Nick DiSanti. W -- Buffis. L -- Gregory. 2B -- Tac 2 (Hunter Stanton, Myles Candelet). MG 1 (Eddie Dufur).