Photo Gallery | Post 68 tops Colchester at Wahconah Park
PITTSFIELD — After outscoring its opponents by 39 runs over its first three games — and allowing only one run against — the Pittsfield Post 68 baseball team was in a close game until the end on Sunday at Wahconah Park.
Playing defending Vermont state champion Colchester on Father's Day morning, defending Massachusetts state champion Post 68 held off its opponent for a 4-1 win.
Post 68 recorded nine hits and combined them with solid efforts on the mound from starting pitcher Jake Flynn and reliever Ross Omelenchuck to get the decision. The Taconic products pitched three and four innings, respectively, with the latter earning the win. Each allowed only one hit and the two combined to allow no earned runs.
With eight games in seven days beginning on Tuesday, split efforts on the mound will likely be commonplace for Pittsfield in the immediate future.
"We're trying to split up our pitching a little bit," Post 68 coach Pat Bassi said. "We're trying to give them a little work and give some of the arms a rest from high school.
"Coach [Jim] Mazzer's really good at that. He takes care of that, and I take care of the field, so we work well together."
Colchester starting pitcher Andrew Lynch pitched a complete game, allowing three earned runs. He struck out one and walked none.
Post 68 jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Shane Tierney reached on a leadoff single and Abdiel Cotto reached on an error. With runners on second and third, after each had stolen a base, leadoff man Chad Shade produced a sacrifice fly to give Pittsfield a 1-0 advantage. Jack Cooney doubled the lead when he delivered an RBI single.
Colchester bounced back in the fifth, though, cutting the lead to 2-1. Alex O'Connell reached on an error to start the inning, moved to second on a sac bunt and took third on a wild pitch. Derek Sanderson registered a sac fly, and the visitors were right back in the game.
"We played a great team in Colchester," Shade said. "They're defending state champs from Vermont. Those [blowout] wins are always nice to have here and there, but it doesn't really teach you anything. Here, the little things — a few errors, a few mistakes — could be the difference. It's good to have these games because you learn a lot."
Post 68 won its first two Western Mass. Legion games 12-0 over Ludlow and 13-1 against Belchertown. Pittsfield followed those with a 15-0 win over Haverhill, an Eastern Mass. team, on Saturday before playing a close one against Colchester.
Leading 2-1, Pittsfield earned some breathing room in the bottom of the fifth when Shade recorded an RBI triple, scoring Cotto. Post 68 scored once more in the sixth as Brett Murphy delivered an RBI groundout, scoring pinch-runner Mike Hurley, who replaced Simon Nassif on the basepaths after Nassif singled.
"We've got a great group of guys," Shade said. "A lot of these guys have been playing together through Babe Ruth league. We've kind of just blended. We've got a couple guys from Hoosac, Wahconah, but everyone has just come together."
In addition to the two schools Shade mentioned, Post 68 also has products from Pittsfield, Taconic, Lenox and St. Joseph.
Trailing 4-1, Colchester threatened one final time. Tyler Lamphere led off the seventh with a single and Jacob Cunningham was hit by a pitch to follow. But Omelenchuck produced back-to-back flyouts, the latter a double play when the runner on first was caught off the bag, to end the game.
"We've got all good guys on the team, which is important," Shade said. "Team chemistry, especially with a legion team that is brand new, is very important if we're going to be spending the summer together."
Post 68 begins the first of the aforementioned eight games in seven days when the team hosts Northampton Post 28 at Wahconah Park on Tuesday.
Andrew Lynch and Jared Rylant. Jake Flynn (3), Ross Omelenchuck (4) and Matt Schneider (6), Brett Murphy (1). W — Omelenchuck. L — Lynch. 2B — C (Cole Reilly). 3B — P (Chad Shade).
Contact Joseph Rea at 413-496-6240