Photo Gallery | Pittsfield falls to Arlington in World Series pool play opener
WESTFIELD — The glass being half-empty means that the Pittsfield Babe Ruth 14-year-old All-Stars lost their first game in the World Series Thursday.
"It shows that we have to work harder," said Pittsfield shortstop Christian Womble. "Today, we came out slow, but we turned it on towards the end of the game.
"But by then it was too late."
Pittsfield surrendered three runs on four hits and an error in the bottom of the first inning and couldn't get over the hump as Arlington won 6-3 in the first game of National Division pool play. The game was played at Westfield State University's Hagan Field, and was stopped for a rain and lightning delay for an hour, 40 minutes.
Brendan Jones pitched four innings of shutout baseball to get the win for Arlington. Jones and Womble, who hit a two-run double in the fifth inning, were the players of the game.
Pittsfield did have two chances to rally, leaving runners in scoring position while coming up empty in the fourth and sixth innings.
"We showed up to play, but we weren't really sure how good the competition was going to be," said Pittsfield third baseman Zach Zerbato. "Now that we've played here, I know we have to show up every day in the first inning."
Pittsfield plays Atlantic Shore, N.J., at Bullens Field tonight at 7 in game two of pool play. The top three teams from each six-team division advance to bracket play.
Arlington was the designated home team in the game, and after Jones faced the minimum three hitters in the first he saw his teammates erupt for three runs in the home first. They all came with two outs.
Pittsfield starter Jett Steinman retired the first two hitters on grounders to Zerbato at third. Jones reached on an infield single and went to third on Tyler Callahan's double. The next hitter was Timmy Mazzei, and the burly Arlington third baseman drove home two runs with a single to left.
Steinman loaded the bases and the third run came home on an error by Womble.
While that happened, Jones was setting Pittsfield down without a lot of difficulty. After giving up a first-inning single to Womble (2 for 4, 2 RBI), the right hander set down the next eight hitters before the rain came. He pitched out of a fourth-inning jam, after the nearly two-hour delay, and then was done for the afternoon.
Pittsfield managed only four hits against Jones and two relief pitchers, and only one hit with a runner in scoring position.
"We got here by being very aggressive with first-pitch hitting, for the most part, or second-pitch hitting," Pittsfield manager Steve White said. "We just didn't do that for 3 1/2 innings today. That's the bottom line. We kept telling them and it didn't happen."
It finally "happened" in the fifth inning. Tommy Kitzmiller, the second Arlington pitcher, hit Dylan Burke, Lucien Lamoreaux and Joe Carroll in consecutive at-bats. One out later, Womble doubled to left, plating Burke and Lamoreaux. Carroll scored from third on Nick Taylor's squeeze bunt. Now, it was 6-3, and Pittsfield was within striking distance.
One inning after Pittsfield reliever Danny DiMassimo set Arlington down in order, Arlington pitcher Callahan issued a leadoff walk to Jake Harrington and gave up a single to Ryan LaPierre. After Burke struck out, Lamoreaux grounded to third with the infield in. Harrington was thrown out at home trying to score, and Pittsfield got nothing.
Callahan retired Pittsfield 1-2-3 in the seventh inning to end a long day of baseball.
It was also a long day for sitting around. Womble said the delay gave his team a chance to reset things and a chance to get to know some of the other players.
"We all came together as a team. We had some fun in the Westfield [field house]. We hung out, got to know each other a little," he said. "Do things with each other and talk to Arlington a little bit."
It also gave the Pittsfield nine a chance to push the reset button. The question is will they be able to carry it forward?
"It really helped us," said Zerbato. "It helped us just chill out and realize we're here like everyone else is here."
Jett Steinman (2 1/3), Danny DiMassimo (3 2/3) and Dylan Burke. Brendan Jones (4), Tommy Kitzmiller (1/3), Tyler Callahan (2 2/3) and Anthony Messari. W—Jones. L—Steinman. Sv—Callahan. 2B—P (Christian Womble). A (Callahan).
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.