BRISTOL, CONN. >> With two outs in the top of the ninth, Pittsfield Post 68's season hung in the balance. South Portland, Maine had the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, and starter Sam Fick had already thrown over 100 pitches in the early afternoon sun. Pittsfield manager Pat Bassi took a trip to the mound after Fick allowed the second straight batter to reach base, but he did not intend to pull Fick — he said the quick chat was just to give his pitcher a breather.

"He worked too hard. It was his game to win," Bassi said. "When I went out to talk to him I said, 'you've got to do your job. Just do your job. That is all.'"

And Fick did just that, using a fastball to freeze No. 3 hitter Nate Ingalls for the strikeout, clinching a 3-2 win on Thursday at Muzzy Field. The win sets up a 4:30 p.m. matchup Friday against an opponent to be determined.

Fick, the former Pittsfield General, had never pitched a nine-inning game, but a couple quick innings and pure adrenaline carried him the distance.

"At first it was kind of hard because I had some slow innings and I had to get out of some jams," he said. "After I started getting into a rhythm and sitting guys down more often, it just came natural. I didn't really feel like I threw nine innings."


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Fick helped close the door and extend the season at least one more game, but it was Matt Schneider that provided the winning run in the eighth inning. Trailing 2-1, the Assumption College commit entered the at-bat in an 0 for 10 slump. However, after Jack Cooney led off with an infield single and Matt Koperniak drew a walk and the runners moved into scoring position on a passed ball, Schneider drove a fastball from Maine starter Sam Troiano into left-center field for a two-run double, putting Pittsfield ahead for good.

"I've been struggling a lot lately, but my teammates were keeping me up," Schneider said. "I give a lot of credit to them. ... I found a pitch to drive and it found the gap. It was great."

Post 68 left six runners on base before Schneider's clutch hit. South Portland outhit Pittsfield 10-6 for the game, and Pittsfield's slow start made Fick's complete game even more impressive.

Maine's first three batters of the game reached base with singles, setting up an RBI 6-4-3 double play. Ben Conti's bases-loaded walk in the third plated their final run, before Fick found his groove.

Brett Murphy scored Pittsfield's first run in the fifth, reaching base after being hit by a pitch. Abdiel Cotto-Hernandez moved Murphy over with a bunt. Chad Shade's infield single moved Murphy to third and he scored on Cooney's RBI groundout. Shade was 2 for 4 with two steals.

This year's team did not enter the tournament as state champions, but they've advanced as far in the Regional tournament as last year's team. Even with a large roster turn over, the state runner-ups are sporting an identical 27-4 record at this point of the season.

"That's quite an accomplishment for a young team," Bassi said of the team's season so far. "I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do tomorrow and we'll go from there."

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Sam Troiano (7+), n/a (1) and Matt Riggle. Sam Fick and Matt Schneider. W — Fick. L — Troiano. 2B — P 1 (Schneider).

Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252