WILLIAMSTOWN -- Mount Greylock spotted St. Joseph an early lead, then used a four-run fifth inning to defeat the Crusaders 5-2 in a key Southern Division baseball matchup Monday afternoon.
"Well, we've talked about it," said Greylock coach Steve Messina of his team's penchant for late starts. "And I wish we could get the bats going a little earlier. But we feel as long as we get good pitching and defense we can come back."
Both of those factors were in evidence on Monday. Mountie starter Robby Buffis threw a four-hitter for five innings and reliever Ian Brink allowed just one base hit in two innings.
"My fastball, when I got it over the plate, was working," said Buffis, "and so was my curveball. My teammates made some plays in the field, too."
Also turning in a strong performance was St. Joseph pitcher Mike Carpenter, who allowed just five singles, walked two and struck out five in going the distance.
Buffis was in trouble early, when St. Joseph (6-2) loaded the bases in the first with no outs. But the visitors couldn't score. In the bottom of the inning, Greylock (7-1) pushed a run across when leadoff hitter Sean Houston walked, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Andrew Leitch's ground out to take a 1-0 advantage.
In the third, the Crusaders loaded the bases again, when Pat Latini and Carpenter singled. This time, they scored on an error and a fielder's choice, and the visitors led, 2-1.
After that, Buffis and Carpenter both settled down, and the Mounties came to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning still down by a run.
It changed abruptly. Derek Romejko and Houston singled and Jack Thistle reached on an error to load the bases with one out. Eric Leitch hit a clean single up the middle to score two runs, and brother Andrew hit into a fielder's choice to score another. Eric Leitch then scored on a passed ball. It was 5-2, and Messina brought in Brink to close out the game.
"I like closing," said Brink, who starts and relieves. "I like the pressure, although closing for Robby can be hard, because he's usually so good."
Brink allowed a pair of walks and a hit in the last two innings, but no runs.
The visitors hit the ball hard, but it was usually within range of a Greylock fielder. Latini hit two bombs, one of which was caught by Houston in center field, the other being run down by Thistle in right.
Leadoff hitter Jon Bianchi, No. 2 batter Latini and No. 3 man Carpenter did all the damage for the Crusaders with five hits, a walk and both runs scored between them. Bianchi and Latini were both 2 for 4.
Houston reached base three times for Greylock with a hit and two walks, and he scored two runs. Ben Allen had two hits for Greylock.
St. Joe 002 000 0--2 5 1
Greylock 100 040 x --5 5 1
Robby Buffis (5), Ian Brink (2) and Nick DiSanti. Mike Carpenter and Nate Stump. WP -- Buffis. LP -- Carpenter.