Saturday August 4, 2012

QUINCY -- He had a smile on his face from the first to the final pitch. He was loose, easy and relaxed. He was in a zone with his best stuff, and he savored each pitch he threw.

Steve Witkowski fired a one-hitter and Pittsfield backed him with a balanced 10-hit attack to handle St. Johnsbury (Vt.) 8-0 in the first round of the 15-year-old New England Regional Babe Ruth Tournament at Adams Field on Friday.

Pittsfield will face Keene (N.H.) in the double-elimination tournament today at 11:30 a.m. at Adams Field. Keene beat Quincy 14-2 later Friday.

"That's the best stuff I've seen him have," said Pittsfield manager Bob Shade.

He threw hard out of an easy motion. He commanded the zone with his fastball and blended an excellent slider as the game progressed to strike out 10 and walk just one. He had a no-hitter through five innings until Vermont's Sam Cota lined a clean single to lead off the sixth. He was in complete control of the baseball game.

"When his command is that good, he can be devastating," said Shade. "He has a lively fastball, and when he has good control of it, the breaking ball is tough."

Witkowski enjoyed the day, the game, his friends, his team, the tourney, and life in general.

"My team is great, I'm making new friends at the tourney, we won, and I had my best stuff. Everything is grand," he said. "I thought about the no-hitter for a second, and my team kidded me after I lost it, but we won. That's all that matters."

Pittsfield scored in every inning except the first. Mitch Clary led the attack with two triples, two RBI and two runs scored. Dom Traversa added a pair of hits and an RBI while shortstop Kevin Donati had a triple, single and a run scored. Eight players hit safely and seven drove in runs as Pittsfield showcased its power throughout the lineup. They also stole four bases. Power, speed, timely hitting, good base running about covers all an offense can deliver.

"Mitch is our No. 3 hitter and he used the whole field. He hits line drives which suits a field like this," said Shade. "It's a big park and it's not made for the long ball, so we worked on getting on top of the ball and hitting line drives. A balanced attack is how you win. We don't rely on one or two hitters. Today we all hit."

Traversa drove in Alex Carusotto, who had doubled, for a 1-0 lead in the second. Donati and Clary had triples in a two-run third. Witkowski singled home Traversa for a 4-0 lead in the fourth. Chad Shade singled and Clary tripled in a two-run fifth, and Pittsfield made it an 8-0 final with two in the sixth on RBI from Joey Dewey and Austin O'Neill.

When it was over, Witkowski still was smiling. He may never stop.

"Everything is great. What's not to enjoy," he said.