PITTSFIELD -- In the short high school seasons of the Northeast in general, and specifically, in Berkshire County, high batting averages are not unusual.
Still, hitting .611, as St. Joseph center fielder Jon Bianchi did, or .528 as Mount Greylock shortstop Eric Leitch did, remain a pair of outstanding seasons, short or not.
Rather than try to make a case against either one of these athletes, it feels more prudent to elevate them to All-Eagle co-MVP status for the 2013 high school baseball season.
Leitch's numbers: .528 batting average, seven doubles, one triple, one home run, 21 RBI, 27 runs scored and 14 stolen bases. In fact, Leitch was 14 for 14 in stolen bases.
Bianchi's numbers: .611 batting average, 55 hits, 33 RBI, 12 home runs, including three walk-offs.
Tough call. Bianchi led the league in average, Leitch was second. No one else hit better than .500. Numbers 1 and 1A. Deciding which is 1 and which is 1A would take a while.
It is a tale of two players with two different roles. Leitch was a player who kick-started the Mountie offense. Bianchi was the guy who kept the Crusaders in high gear.
Both players led their teams into the postseason: St. Joe in the Division III tourney, Greylock in the Division II playoffs.
Mount Greylock coach Steve Messina touted Leitch's season as a "monster" year.
"He was hitting the cover off the ball to start the year," said his coach, Steve Messina. "He was way above .600. Seriously. He was hitting about .640.
"So he ‘slumped' to .538," laughed Messina. "That's kind of a funny way to put it, obviously. Slumping to .538 is kind of a ridiculous way to say it."
In addition, Leitch stole 14 bases in 14 tries.
"Yeah, he pretty much had the green light just about every time he was on base," said Messina. "He was smart enough to pick his spots. He's fast, and he's smart and he knew when to go and when not to go."
Bianchi started fast and pretty much stayed there all season. He hit for power, hit for average and hit in the clutch. There were the three walk-off home runs, as well as a game where he hit for the cycle. Bianchi started hitting in April and didn't really stop.
"In terms of hard work, he leads by example," said his coach, Dennis Murphy.
In fact, Murphy said in an interview earlier this year that Bianchi is one of the hardest-working players he's ever seen in the history of St. Joseph baseball. It is a sterling compliment for a sterling player.