PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield 14-year old All-Stars played like a team on a mission. The youngsters showed poise and intensity beyond their years, clearly not fazed by a trip to the Babe Ruth World Series in Westfield on the line.
The host jumped out early and kept the momentum going, scoring a run in every inning, en route to a 12-2 win over Nipmuc on Tuesday at Deming Field.
The World Series starts August 11.
Jake Harrington's two-run double into deep center ended the game due to the 10-run mercy rule. Harrington led the offense with two doubles, two runs scored and three RBI.
The team played the entire tournament with "for Buddy" on their cleats in honor of longtime coaching legend Buddy Pellerin, who passed away July 4. Pittsfield coach Steve White said he felt that Pellerin's spirit was with the team.
"I almost feel that at times Buddy is with us," he said. "Buddy's touched everybody in this community. One way or another, if you're in baseball for a long time, coach Pellerin has been part of your life."
Pittsfield starter Christian Womble made his first appearance of the tournament and showed off a fresh, lively arm. He allowed four hits, while walking four, however, he used his fastball for strikeouts when necessary.
A strikeout and a failed steal attempt stranded two Nipmuc runners on base in the first. In the second, Womble issued a leadoff walk to Andrew Galicki, but regrouped, striking out the next three batters. A 3-6 double play started by Harrington ended another threat in the third.
Nipmuc finally broke through with two runs in the fourth, but a 1-2-3 fifth inning helped Pittsfield clinch the win.
"I believed in my teammates," Womble said of working out of jams. "Whenever I come out to pitch, I rely on them to make the plays for me."
White said he had a good feeling about the outcome of the championship game after Womble pitched well in a scrimmage against the 15-year old All-Stars. The confidence from the scrimmage seemed to have carried over for the right-hander.
"I've been in many situations like this, basketball-wise and in high school. ... Baseball championships, state championships and Little League," Womble said. "That's prepared me for this moment. On the inside I'm jumping up and down, but on the outside, I'm always cool and collected."
Pittsfield's offense gave Womble plenty of reasons to remain relaxed as well. Harrington started the scoring in the first with a RBI double. Ryan LaPierre added a run with an RBI ground out.
In the second, Dylan Burke hit an RBI single into left field and Zak Bernardo put Pittsfield up 4-0 with an RBI ground out. Burke drove in two more with a double in the third and LaPierre added a RBI single.
The host broke the game open with three runs in the fourth, as LaPierre plated two more with a single and Lucien Lamoureaux's single through the right side scored one more, setting up Harrington's walk-off in the fifth.
LaPierre went 2 for 3 with four RBI. Lameroux had two hits. Jett Steinman had a single and reached base via walk and hit by pitch. He scored the winning run as well, crossing home plate and then sprinting to second base to mob Harrington.
"I didn't really know what to do. I just [saw] everybody running at me. I enjoyed it," Harrington said of the walk-off. "I was hoping [Steinman] would get on because I've never had a bigger hit than that in my life."
Andrew Griswold (4), Cameron Bern (1) and Aidan McEvoy. Christian Womble and Dylan Burke. W — Womble. L — Griswold. 2B — P 5 (Jake Harrington 2, Burke, Womble, Ryan LaPierre).
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252