Photo Gallery | Pittsfield plays Taconic in softball
PITTSFIELD — Many members of the Pittsfield softball team had the advantage of playing travel softball with Taconic pitcher Ashley Keegan growing up. They have familiarity with her tendencies and experience handling her high velocity.
That background knowledge allowed the Generals to generate solid contact on Keegan, batting around in the seven-run fifth inning en route to a 13-1 win on Saturday.
The Generals had the added benefit of having coach Greg Marchbanks throw batting practice to them, giving them more at-bats against high velocity. It's clear the practice helped Pittsfield's offense as well.
"We know what [Keegan] can do," he said. "They've seen a lot of her and that probably gives us an advantage over a lot of other teams. They were ready. We had batting practice yesterday and I throw as hard as I can at them. I throw the rise, I throw the screwball, so they saw a lot of that yesterday."
Once Pittsfield started making contact, Taconic could not handle the pressure it put on its fielders.
Leading 6-1 in the fifth, Keegan got Hayley Tobin to line out to first, but then the floodgates opened. Emily Koldys was hit by a pitch, Giuliana Pierce reached on a walk and the next two batters reached via error, allowing two runs to score.
Bella Aitken added a RBI single and Britney Perkett followed with an inside-the-park home run, giving the host the mercy-rule win.
"We have a lot of speed and we have the ability to hit the ball really hard," Marchbanks said. "Fielders are going to get the ball and we're going to push to see if they can make the play. If you can make the play, awesome. But we're going to go until you make the play."
The Braves committed five errors during the game. Taconic coach Kevin Harrington said his team must play better moving forward.
Despite the defensive errors, the Braves had several standout defensive plays. Janee Walker had four putouts at third base, playing strong bunt defense at the hot corner. In the fourth inning, Chloe Wood showed off her strong arm in right field. She caught a line drive off the bat of Allie Hunt and fired a throw home, nailing Perkett at the plate and saving a run.
Pittsfield used its big inning to end the game, but Taconic could not break through when it had a chance to produce a big inning early.
The Braves loaded the bases with two outs in the second. Kailey Bell drove in one with a single, but Morgan Leightfield was thrown out at home, ending the inning. After the shaky second inning, Koldys retired eight batters in a row, before Bell hit a double in the fifth.
Koldys had only one strikeout, but she only walked one, letting her defense make plays behind her. Marchbanks said they spoke about adjustments she needed to make after the second inning and Koldys corrected all her mistakes.
"She's a competitor," Marchbanks said. "She was mad at herself because she missed her spot four times. ... I told her what she needed to do and she did it. She's very easy to work with. You give her what she needs to do, she's going to eat it up and she's going to use it."
Ashley Keegan and Kailey Bell. Emily Koldys and Hayley Tobin. W — Koldys. L — Keegan. 2B — T 1 (Bell). P 1 (Koldys). 3B — P 2 (Allie Hunt, Bella Aitken). HR — P 1 (Britney Perkett).
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252