PITTSFIELD >> The Pittsfield American 10-11 year-old All-Stars found themselves in a new situation Saturday against Holden — trailing late in the game. The team showed its heart, tying the game in the fifth, but a clutch hit by Tucker McDonald gave Holden the 5-4 walk-off win in the Section I tournament.
Pittsfield heads to the loser's bracket to face Westfield today at 2 p.m. The winner of that game advances to play Holden in the championship game on Monday.
The game was close throughout, as Pittsfield was one out away from forcing extra innings. In the sixth, Holden's Steve Herbet hit a leadoff single and advanced to second on a passed ball. Reliever Evan Blake retired the next two batters, but Herbert tagged up and moved to third on a fly out, setting up McDonald's winning hit.
"It's tough because we weren't in these situations early in the year," coach Matt Stracuzzi said. "A lot of these kids are in the house league, so they learned how to play in close games. ... But it is tough on the younger kids and hopefully we'll learn from this."
Pittsfield started the game with a bang, as Nick Brindle drew a leadoff walk and Blake followed with a long home run into left center field. That was all American could muster, however, as Owen Salvatore's RBI bunt single was waved off after the runner slid into home head first.
Blake added a RBI single in the second and Chase Racine hit a double in the fifth — using a nifty slide to avoid the tag — allowing pinch-runner Charlie Heiman to score from third, tying the game at 5-5. American could not get the go-ahead hit in the sixth with a runner on third. Tayvon Sandifer, Will Kinne and Connor Lavinio all had singles.
After starting strong, Stracuzzi said the team could not build off the momentum of the home run.
"After the two runs we kind of stopped hitting," Stracuzzi said. "I didn't think we were aggressive enough, but they are 10-11 year olds, you're going to get that.
"We had [Holden] under pressure and we let them off the hook. Give them credit. That's a good team."
Pittsfield starter Cam Sime pitched well before leaving the game in the fourth. He allowed a double and a single to start the game, but he worked out of the jam, retiring the next three batters. Blake had three strikeouts in two and one-third innings.
Pittsfield 210 010 — 4 7
Holden 002 201 — 5 12
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252