Photo Gallery | Mount Greylock vs. Taconic baseball
WILLIAMSTOWN — In the 24 years of Kevin Stannard's Taconic baseball coaching career, his team has never run the table in Berkshire County. Until now.
The Braves scored five runs in the first inning and starting pitcher Jake Flynn did the rest, as the Braves beat Mount Greylock 7-2 in the Berkshire Classic game between division champions on Friday afternoon.
"It's a first," said Stannard. "The kids played solid all year long. We took advantage of Greylock's mistakes today. I think we've been doing that all year long."
The Braves scored five runs in the first inning. From that point, the Mounties played Taconic evenly, but the damage had been done.
It was the second time this week Taconic (18-2) had beaten the Mounties, as the game on Monday went to the Braves by a 14-1 score.
But while the Mounties (10-10) enter the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament on a four-game losing streak, Friday's defeat might have been a step toward getting back on track.
"We played really well, besides that first inning where we shot ourselves in the foot," said Greylock shortstop Brodie Altiere. "Other than that, we played with them the whole game.
"The win or loss didn't really matter. It was just that we were playing smart and good baseball, and I thought we did."
The Braves and Mounties, both of whom reached their respective Western Massachusetts baseball championship games last year, now will wait until Tuesday to find out where and who they will play in the postseason. The Western Mass. baseball seeding meeting will be held on Tuesday at Northampton High School. Mount Greylock won the Division III sectional title last year, while Taconic lost in the Western Mass. D-I final.
"This was one of the goals of ours, to finish unbeaten in the county," said Taconic third baseman Ryan Abel.
Abel had a good day at the plate. The junior was 3 for 3 with two runs-batted in and a run scored. Abel scored what proved to be the winning run in that five-run first inning. He scored on a throwing error by right fielder Nick Rondeay after Abdiel Cott-Hernandez singled. It was the second error of the inning.
Jack Cooney, the 10th batter of the inning, struck out to end the first. By then, the Braves had scored five runs on six singles and two costly Greylock errors.
With that kind of a lead, Taconic starter Jake Flynn did the rest.
The junior right-hander gave up two runs on six hits in going the distance for the win. He gave up single runs in the third and seventh innings. Flynn pitched out of a jam in the second inning. Eli Ostheimer and Hunter Abriel hit back-to-back singles with one out, but Tyler Martens grounded to Izaiya Mestre. Mestre stepped on second and threw to first baseman Devon Walker to complete the double play.
"I felt good. I just tried to throw strikes," said Flynn. "My curveball was good and my change was going."
Flynn was on the ropes a bit in the seventh. With one out, he walked Zach Condon. Flynn balked Condon to second and the runner went to third on Brandon Condon's ground out. Cal Messina blooped a double to right and took third on Altiere's single. The game ended with Phil Guest grounding back to the mound.
Messina and Altiere each had two hits for Greylock. Both of Messina's hits were doubles. Brett Murphy and Walker also had two hits each for Taconic.
"The first inning was rough," Greylock coach Steve Messina said. "We did everything we could think of — walks, hits, errors, people weren't in the position they were supposed to be in. It was a mess of an inning. I never thought it was going to end, to be honest with you.
"After that, Brandon settled down, the kids settled down and it was an even game after that."
For its part, Taconic will look forward to a possible top-four seed in the tournament.
"We're hoping for a [three-seed], but the Walker system doesn't do us any favors, that's for sure," said Stannard. "We do our best to try to play as many D-Is as we can.
"Berkshire County is tough."
And this year, Taconic is the best in Berkshire County.
Jake Flynn and Brett Murphy. Brandon Condon and Hunter Abriel. W—Flynn. L—B. Condon. 2B— MG 2 (Cal Messina 2).
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.