PITTSFIELD -- It’s Baseball 101. If you have runners on second and third and the hottest hitter is up, you walk him to set up a force play at any base.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes, Dom Traversa makes you wish it hadn’t happened.
Traversa hit an 0-1 pitch to right for a two-run single with the bases loaded to key a four-run inning and help Pittsfield knock off city rival Taconic 6-2 on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon on Valentine Road.
"Kevin [Donati] was hot today. He was hititng the ball real well, and I grounded out in my last two at-bats," said the senior catcher. "It didn’t surprise me."
Traversa’s hit gave starting pitcher Ryan Grande some much-needed breathing room. The right-hander gave up a leadoff triple to Alex Carusotto in the fifth but after Carusotto scored on a ground out by Mitch Clary, Grande retired the side in order. Those were the first three of nine straight outs recorded by Grande, and it included five consecutive strikeouts to end the game.
Grande gave up a run on three walks and a wild pitch in the third and a second run in the fifth inning. He ended up striking out eight and walking 4.
Grande started slowly, but pitched out of jams by stranding six runners in the first four innings. But he left no base runners in the final three frames.
"Once I stopped trying to aim [the ball]," he said. "I just tried to worry about throwing it. I got my fastball down.
Pittsfield led 2-1 going into the top of the fifth when Shane Tierney singled off Taconic starter Joey Dewey. Tierney took second on a wild pitch, Chad Shade walked and Grande bunted the runners to second and third.
Donati, who drove in a run with a first-inning double and singled in the third, took four pitches outside to load the bases. Up came Traversa.
"I was looking fastball," he said. "I only saw three pitches in my other two at-bats and they were fastballs. So I was looking fastball all the way."
Traversa’s hit cleared the bases as Donati scored when right fielder Clary overran the ball. After Bobby New’s single put runners on the corner, Traversa scampered home on a passed ball to make it 6-1.
"When you only get three hits and you strike out eight times, that’s not putting the ball in play," said Taconic coach Kevin Stannard. "It’s been the story this team’s year is leaving a bunch of guys on base."
Pittsfield 110 040 0 -- 6 7 1
Taconic 001 010 0 -- 2 3 4
Ryan Grande and Dom Traversa. Joey Dewey (6), Jake McNeice (1) and Kevin Squires. W--Grande. L--Dewey. 2B--P 1 (Joe Gratton). 3B--T 1 (Alex Carusotto).
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