MONUMENT -- In a matchup between two of the top teams in their respective divisions, it was fitting that the outcome of the game came down to the wire on Monday.
The game featured big hits and lead changes, but Monument Mountain reliever Christian Callahan sealed an 8-6 win over Mount Greylock, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning.
"Mount Greylock is a really good team," Monument coach Tom Hankey said. "They had some big hits, and we expected them to come back. So I couldn’t be prouder."
Leading by one in the bottom of the sixth, North Division leader Monument started the inning with back-to-back triples from Trevor McFarland and Brandon Perry. Perry’s triple plated McFarland and Peter Oggiani plated Perry with a double one batter later, giving Monument an 8-5 lead.
Those runs proved to be crucial, because Greylock would not go down without a fight.
After Ian Brink flew out to center field, Nick Disanti started Greylock’s seventh-inning rally with a base hit. Delaney Pudvar and Jake Benzinger followed with base hits, but right fielder Henri Morrison’s quick scoop and throw on Benzinger’s single kept the runner at third.
Benzinger was the last batter Monument starter James Allentuck faced before Callahan entered the game.
Allentuck struck out six over six innings, scattering 10 hits and walking one.
Callahan forced a fielder’s choice back to the mound to the first batter he faced, firing home to nail pinch runner Jesse Dilego. After a run scored on a dropped third strike, Callahan ended the game by catching a soft liner by Brodie Altiere. Greylock left eight runners on base in the game.
"You can’t leave runners on base. You’ve got to get the big hit and that’s something every team works on," Greylock coach Steve Messina said. "We did get some hits with runners on, but we’ve got to do a better job."
These teams will meet again on Saturday in the Berkshire Classic for the unofficial county championship. Messina said it’s important to stay focused and not look too far ahead.
"Any time we lose we find areas where we can improve and get better," he said. "But we’ve got practice tomorrow and Lenox on Wednesday, so we’ll take it one day at a time."
Bezinger’s two-run triple in the fifth gave Greylock a 5-4 lead. Monument answered in the bottom half of the inning with two runs of its own on a suicide squeeze from Dominic Defelice, and Oggiani scoring on a dropped third strike.
Bobby Kinne and Oggiani led Monument with two hits and two RBI each. Brandon Perry added two hits, an RBI and two runs scored.
Ian Brink and Jake Benzinger led Greylock with two hits and two RBI. Disanti added three hits as well and an RBI.
In a game with seven total extra base hits, both teams also had highlight reel defensive plays.
In the third inning, Greylock centerfielder Jack Thistle saved at least one run when he made a diving catch in center field with two runners on, robbing Allentuck of a hit.
Oggiani saved a run when he scooped a bullet of a ground ball at third with a runner on base, and made a strong throw to first to end the inning.
Ahead of Saturday’s rematch, Kinne said Monday’s tough win can give confidence to the team.
"We’re a tough team at the plate and in the field," he said. "It was a 12-round bout and it was nice to come out with the belt."
Greylock 002 030 1 -- 6 10 2
Monument 202 022 x -- 8 10 0
Ian Brink (5 1/3), Adam Hall (1 2/3) and Nick Disanti. James Allentuck (6 1/2), Christian Callahan (2/3) and T.J. Shumsky. W -- Allentuck. L -- Brink. S -- Callahan. 2B -- Greylock 2 (Dan Flynn, Brink); Monument 2 (Kinne, Oggiani); 3B -- Greylock 1 (Benzinger); Monument 2 (McFarland, Perry).
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