Photo Gallery | Post 68 tops Westfield
PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield Post 68 heads into the American Legion postseason on a high note, earning a 9-2 win over Westfield in its final regular season game on Wednesday. Post 68 (13-2) enters the postseason as a No. 2 seed and will face off against East Longmeadow in a best-of-three series starting Saturday at 1 p.m. at Clapp Park.
Post 68 coach Pat Bassi said Wednesday's commanding win was a nice turnaround after Tuesday's comeback win over Greenfield, adding that his team needed to show more energy and enthusiasm. After a pep talk from Alex Carusotto and Steve Witkowski, members of last year's state championship team, Bassi said he thinks his team got the message.
Matt Koperniak helped Pittsfield take the lead in the first inning, lining an RBI single up the middle. Simon Nassif followed with an RBI double, putting Pittsfield up 2-0. In the third, Jack Cooney led off with a single. After Koperniak lined a double down the third base line, Cooney scored on a wild pitch, plating the eventual winning run. Koperniak went 4 for 4 with a one steal. Cooney had two hits, three runs scored and a RBI. Nassif added two RBI.
"I just try to get the bat on the ball and get some hits in," Koperniak said of his production out of the No. 3 spot. "We're really good at getting on base, and it's good to try and get some RBI. So far that's been happening."
With an early lead, Izaiya Mestre had enough of a cushion to work through command issues. He walked five batters in five innings, but he struck out seven and did not allow a hit. In the third, Mestre walked two and then an error loaded the bases with one out, but he worked through it, striking out one and getting a fly ball to end the inning.
"I just couldn't hit my spots and the umpire was squeezing [the strike zone], so I had to deal with that," Mestre said. "You've got to fight through it and try to get the next batter."
Pittsfield added insurance runs late, scoring in each of the final three innings. In the fourth, Chad Shade had an RBI double, and Nassif and Cooney had RBI singles. Shade added an RBI single in the fifth, and Pittsfield's final two runs came off Westfield errors.
Heading into the postseason, Bassi said his team is finally coming together. Last year, the team was more fiery and mature, but the skipper said this squad is slowly finding its own identity.
"Their spirit was really high tonight and they were really supporting each other," he said. "I think finally they get it, and our chemistry helps a lot on the field."
Cameron Niemiec (2), Matthew Hannoush (2), Devin Baker (2) and Jack Blake. Izaiya Mestre (5), Patrick Colvin (2) and Brett Murphy (5), Nate Stump (2). W — Mestre. L — Hannoush. 2B — 3 (Simon Nassif, Matt Koperniak, Chad Shade)
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252