Tanner Hanford earned the win for the Tyler Aces.
Tanner Hanford earned the win for the Tyler Aces. (Christopher James / Berkshire Eagle Staff)

PITTSFIELD -- A 5-2 score doesn't scream pitchers' duel, but that's exactly what Thursday evening's American Legion elimination game was.

The difference was a pair of errors from North Adams, which gave the Tyler Aces a 5-2 win and the right to fight another day. That's today against Southern Berkshire at Berkshire School.

"We haven't really been hitting that well," Aces coach Bill Dassat. "As you can see tonight, we got some opportunities handed to us. That was the ballgame."

The first mistake came in the bottom of the first inning with two outs. North Adams' Max Quinn rushed a grounder to his right and wasn't able to get the force at third, which loaded the bases. In the next at-bat, Justin Hopkins sliced a double down the right-field line that snuck past Alex Bush for a two-out, three-run double.

The second blunder gave the Tyler Aces a little breathing room in the fourth. Post 125 tried to turn an inning-ending double play, but Tanner Bird's throw to first was off the mark. Connor Lein came around to score from second and Aces led 4-0. Lane Grogan flied out to end the threat a batter later.

"Last night, we go from no errors, and then what? We commit [two]. That opened the door right there ..." North Adams coach Bob Rumbolt said. "They got [four] unearned, and that's the name of the game. We didn't have that many hits, and they had the key opportunities with the hits.


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Tanner Hanford didn't need any more help, but his offense gave him one more run in the fifth. He worked as quickly as he could without quick pitching. North Adams tried to disrupt his rhythm by stepping out of the box, but it had little effect.

Hanford faced no more than four batters in an inning until the seventh. His command allowed him to test the corners and even a little off. He was getting the calls and wasn't shy about repeatedly targeting the outside corner, much to the disgust of North Adams' hitters.

"I throw what's working, honestly. Everything was working for me today," he said. "I've been [spotting pitches well] my whole life, so it's definitely very important. Definitely the fastball on the outside corner was my favorite spot."

Post 125's Robert Jutras stepped on the mound for the second straight day in the suffocating heat. He threw 52 pitches in a five-inning, mercy-rule win over Lenoxdale on Wednesday, Rumbolt said. On Thursday, he threw 103 over six innings of work.

The Tyler Aces travel to Southern Berkshire for their second elimination game. First pitch is slated for 5:30 p.m. Southern Berkshire fell to league champion Post 68 on Thursday in a continuation of Wednesday's game that was called due to darkness.

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Tyler Aces 5, North Adams 2

North Adams 000 001 1 -- 2 4 2

Tyler Aces 300 110 x -- 5 6 1

Robert Jutras and Jake Hall. Tanner Hanford and Dom Traversa. W -- Hanford. L -- Jutras.

2B -- TA 2 (Justin Hopkins, Hanford). 3B -- NA 1 (Tanner Bird).

Post 68 2, Southern Berkshire 1

PITTSFIELD -- Brian Bonacquisti cracked an RBI double in the bottom of the 11th inning to score Mitch Clary as Post 68 edged Southern Berkshire 2-1 in 11 innings.

This was the completion of Wednesday night's suspended game.

Clary had walked and stole second to pave the way for Bonacquisti's big hit. Jordan Barbarotta picked up the win for Post. Bonacquisti's RBI double in the second inning was responsible for Post's other score.

Colby Rueger was 4 for 4 for Southern Berkshire.

Post now advances to Saturday's final at Clapp Park at 10 a.m.

Holden 18, Don Gleason North 1

PITTSFIELD -- A nine-run sixth inning finished Pittsfield.

Josh Bean and Jake Harringon each hit doubles for North. Harrington scored the home side's only run. Cole Wojkowski took the loss for Pittsfield.

NECBL

North Adams 5, Danbury 4

DANBURY, Conn. -- Joe Landi scored on a wild pitch in the 10th to power the SteepleCats to the extra-inning victory.

Landi reached on a single and moved to second ona Bryan Soloman groundout. He stole third before a wild pitch to Brad Anderson scored him.

North Adams led 4-2 after a three-run fifth, but Danbury scraped together a run in both the bottom of the fifth and the seventh to tie the score. Landi scored three times and had four hits while Kevin Martir drove in three runs for the SteepleCats.

Joeanthony Rivera earned the win for North Adams, allowing one hit and striking out one in the 10th inning.

Jimmy Fund tournament

Adams 4, Pittsfield West Blue 2

PITTSFIELD -- Winning pitcher Carson Meczeyor had two hits, including a double, and drove in a run. Pittsfield was led by three hits, including a double, and a RBI from Jared Jansen at Belanger Field.

North Adams 13, Pittsfield South Red 8

PITTSFIELD -- Hunter Sarkis pitched four innings of no-hit baseball to earn the win. He finished with a double, four hits and three RBI.

Teammate Logan Briggs added two doubles and four RBI for North Adams. Pittsfield was led by two hits and two RBI from Owen McNeil while Ben West had one hit.