Saturday July 13, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- The last time a Pittsfield South Little League 12-year-old All-Star team did not win a District I championship, the 2013 team members weren't even in kindergarten.

Pittsfield South won its eighth consecutive crown on Friday night, scoring 11 unanswered runs to beat Pittsfield Don Gleason North 11-1, and claim the Gleason District I title.

The winning run scored on a wild pitch, with Joe Traversa scampering home while winning pitcher Ian Benoit watched from the batter's box.

"It's our 11th straight appearance in the final and our eighth straight title. It's a testament to our entire league from top to bottom," said South manager Ty Perrault. "Every coach and every assistant coach does a great job. It shows when you get to all-star competition. I can't take credit for that, that's for sure."

South will play the District II champion on Wednesday at Deming at 5:30 p.m.

Benoit went all four innings for South. He gave up a first-inning home run, but finished by surrendering only three hits. He did not walk anyone and struck out five batters.

It was a rough way to end the season for a North team that lost to South on Wednesday but fought its way through the losers bracket to reach Friday's championship game.

"This is a great ballclub. They play hard," North manager Corey Walker said of his team. "We played three games in three days. I think they were worn down a little bit."

But not at the start.

Winning the toss, South chose to be the home team. Benoit retired the first two North hitters on a combined five pitches and then had Reese Gillette on a 1-1 count. Gillette turned on the next pitch, and before you knew it, the ball was bouncing off the concession stand roof for a solo home run.

"I wasn't worried at all because I knew I could get the next batter," said Benoit, who struck out Derek Adams to end the inning. "I left the pitch up a little."

South tied the game on a pair of walks and an RBI double by Cedric Rose, and took the lead for keeps on Benoit's RBI base hit in a two-run second inning.

The big inning for South was the fourth. South scored six runs on four hits with two home runs.

John Halse hit the first one, a three-run shot against reliever Adams. Hayden Harrington followed that with a solo homer. Harrington's homer made it 10-1, and one more run would end it.

Adams walked Traversa, Paul Wales and Carter Matthews to load the bases. That forced Walker to make a pitching change. Gillette moved over from first and a first-pitch wild pitch to Benoit allowed Traversa to slide home with the winning run.

It was a far cry from Wednesday's game, a contest where North led 1-0 after four innings before South rallied for a 5-1 win.

"They gave us a tough game last time. They have a lot of good players, a lot of good athletes," said Perrault. "We had to come to play. We got some key hits and Ian got a lot of ground balls for us. Against a good hitting team like [North], that's what you have to do."

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North 100 0 -- 1 3 1

South 122 6 -- 1 9 0

Christian Womble (3), Derek Adams (1/3), Reese Gillette (0) and Ryan Gaudette. Ian Benoit and Cedric Rose. W -- Benoit. L -- Womble. 2B -- PS (Rose 2). 3B -- PS (Benoit). HR -- PN (Reese Gillette). PS -- (John Halse, Hayden Harrington).