DALTON — This will be a weekend Monument Mountain first baseman Joe Aberdale long remembers.
Aberdale's three-run home run, his second homer in as many days, broke a tie and helped Monument Mountain claim the championship of the Wahconah Tournament. The Spartans outscored host Wahconah 10-8 Sunday afternoon.
"Back in Little League, it was four or five years ago too," said Aberdale, when asked the last time he hit two homers in two days.
Aberdale hit a 2-2, two-out pitch from Wahconah reliever Ben Schmitt over the fence in left field. That brought Jared Henry and Graham Herrick in ahead of him to make the score at that time 6-3. Wahconah did get to within two runs, but Henry and Nate Cormier finished the game with three shutout innings of relief. That gave Monument (3-4) its third straight win. Henry got the win and Cormier picked up the save.
"It's a big win for us," said Monument coach Tom Hankey. "We're a young team. We are getting better, but we still have a ways to go, but we're trending in the right direction."
The Spartans lost to Hoosac Valley in a darkness-shortened championship game a year ago. Fears of that happening again meant the title game was moved to Sunday afternoon. That gave both teams plenty of daylight to get a full game in.
"You look at the scoreboard, and while four runs were tough to come back from, I never felt like we were out of the game," said Wahconah coach Rob Cowdrey. "We did put ourselves in a hole early in the game, but it could have been much worse. That's what I told the guys out there."
Wahconah was the designated road team after a pre-game coin toss, and took a 2-0 lead right out of the gate. The wheels almost fell off moments later.
Wahconah starter Austin Cancilla walked the game's first four batters, throwing 18 pitches and only two for strikes. Schmitt kept the game from getting out of hand, as the Spartans scored only three runs and left the bases loaded.
Ty Cowdrey scored the tying run in the Wahconah second. Cowdrey was hit by a Herrick pitch and went around to third on Andrew Beaudoin's single into the hole at short. Beaudoin stole second and Branden Perry's throw from behind the plate sailed into center field. That brought Cowdrey home.
Monument took over with three runs on two hits in the bottom of the second. With one out, Henry singled and Herrick walked. After Perry flied to left, Aberdale faced a 2-2 count when he belted a fastball deep and over the fence in left. That made it 6-3, and the Spartans never gave up the lead.
"It felt like a deep fly ball," said Aberdale. "It just felt like a normal fly out. It just carried."
While it was a pretty good weekend for Aberdale, it was a very good week for Henry. The sophomore right-hander picked up a pair of wins in relief. He pitched four shutout innings against Hoosac Valley on Saturday morning and got the win with three more innings of relief on Sunday. He gave up three runs in the fourth, two on a two-run home run by Beaudoin. Henry retired four of the last five hitters he faced.
"After throwing yesterday, he threw like 50 pitches yesterday and we weren't sure how much we were going to get out of him," said Hankey. "He's a sophomore and he's got a lot of ability. I tried to push him as far as he could."
In the fifth, his last inning of work, Henry got two outs before Cam Taylor singled to center. But pinch-hitter Chad Supranowicz grounded out to end the inning.
"I pitched yesterday, so I wasn't expecting to pitch [Sunday]. I came out with a fresh start and a confident mind," said Henry, "and I did what I could."
For Wahconah, things could have been much worse. Schmitt pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief after being summoned from first base. And while the Warriors weren't able to catch their North Division rivals, coach Cowdrey said that the lanky right-hander kept his team in the game.
"He came in cold. We knew we were going to him right from the start as the second guy in, but we weren't expecting to have to do that" in the first inning, said the Wahconah coach. "For him to step up, he gave us the opportunity to stay in the game and try to win it."
Austin Cancilla (0+), Ben Schmitt (5 1/3), Pat Butler (2/3) and Matt Schneider. Graham Herrick (2), Jared Henry (3), Nate Cormier (2) and Branden Perry. W—Henry. L—Schmitt. S—Cormier. 2B—W (Ty Cowdrey). HR—W (Andrew Beaudoin). MM (Joe Aberdale).
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.