Pittsfield 13U Babe Ruth All-Stars thump Blackstone Valley to win Western Massachusetts state championship

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WESTFIELD —The Pittsfield 13U Babe Ruth All-Stars rode their red-hot offense to a 10-2 win over Blackstone Valley, clinching the Western Massachusetts state championship at Bullens Field on Saturday.

The 13 year-olds advance to the Regional Tournament, starting Thursday back at Bullens Field.

Owen Kroboth did most of the heavy lifting for Pittsfield's offense. The lengthy catcher went 2 for 2 with 3 runs batted in, one walk and two runs scored. He ripped a RBI double down the left-field line to start the scoring for Pittsfield in the first. Luke Mele followed with a RBI single, putting Pittsfield up 2-1. The team would not trail again.

Kroboth added the finishing blow with a two-RBI single in a four-run fifth.

"I just knew I had to get a base hit, drive the ball and score the runners," Kroboth said of his approach with runners on base. "I knew we have good batters coming up. If I didn't get a hit, someone would pick them up after me."

Pittsfield's strong offense overcame a shaky defensive performance. A two-error first inning allowed Blackstone Valley to take a 1-0 lead. Pittsfield got the jitters out early, however, as the All-Stars committed only one error over the final six innings.

"Whenever we make an error we have other teammates to pick us up," shortstop Brendan Stannard said. "We're a great team and all of us are friends. So whenever someone makes an error or does something bad, someone is there to pick you up. It's great."

The improved defense allowed Pittsfield's pitchers to calm down, as well. Starter Shane Bernardo did not allow an earned run in 3 1/3 innings. Patrick Rindfuss did not allow a hit in the final 3 2/3 innings. He struck out one and walked two. Rindfuss added a RBI single in the sixth. Sam Sherman scored two runs. Nick Hall had a single.

In the third, Stannard and Sherman scored on an error and a balk, respectively. After Korboth's two-run single in the fifth, the host added two more runs on an error and a wild pitch. Korboth's sacrifice fly in the sixth plated Stannard for Pittsfield's final run.

"Today our defense was a little shaky, but generally we're very good defensively and our pitchers are taught to throw strikes, which we did," Pittsfield coach Bryon Sherman said. "We only gave up three hits. ... We made a couple of miscues in the field, but we overcame them.

"We know what we can do and they're confident in themselves no matter what the odds are."

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Blackstone Valley     100     100     0          2     3     3

Pittsfield     202     042     x          10     6     3

Jack Mangoipis (3), Puda (1+), Ryan Boyce (1+), Pat Costa (1) and Akana. Shane Bernardo (3 1/3), Patrick Rindfuss (3 2/3) and Owen Kroboth. W — Bernardo. L — Mangoipis. 2B — P: Kroboth.

Reach sports writer Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252 or @TheAkeemGlaspie.

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