Pittsfield American wins 11-12 Little League Section I championship
Photo Gallery | Pittsfield South wins Little League championship over Holden
PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield American 11-12-year-old All-Stars continued their impressive show of power, using the long ball to earn a 20-0 win over defending sectional champion Holden on Saturday at Deming Park.
The win clinches the Section I title for Pittsfield, earning the team a trip to the state championship in Westwood.
"It feels great to get here," Pittsfield coach Ty Perrault said. "To have complete games and have everyone contribute the way they have. ... We're looking forward to going to states and bringing a team that has a lot of potential to do something."
Pittsfield's offense is definitely the strength of the team, but in the clinching game, American showed it has strong pitching arms as well.
Brendan Stannard pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out two. Luke Mele pitched a perfect fourth, sealing the win.
After a scoreless first inning, Pittsfield erupted for a 13-hit, 13-run second inning. Nolan DeGroff led off the inning with a home run to center field. Josh Lennon followed with a single. Mele dropped down a bunt single and Patrick Rindfuss drew a walk, loading the bases for Stannard. For the second time in the last two games, Stannard cleared the bases with a grand slam, putting American up 5-0.
The big inning continued, as Owen Kroboth and Bo Bramer singled. Kaden Codey drew a walk, loading the bases and setting up Shane Bernardo's two-run double. DeGroff stepped to the plate again, still with nobody out, and delivered another blast over the fence for a three-run home run. Stannard drew a bases loaded walk and Kroboth added an RBI ground out, capping the big inning.
DeGroff said he's never hit two home runs in an inning before. He added that he remained focused after the first homer and credited the work in the batting cage for the team's strong offensive production.
"Half the team hits at 8 [o'clock], half the team hits at 9 — every morning," he said. "It's been working well so far. Coach tells us to work on hitting it to right field and we do that well. We hit everything — curveballs, knuckleballs — all offspeed."
The bats continued to connect in the third inning. Michael Grady reached base with a leadoff walk. Michael Britton's base hit put two runners on. With one out, Mele drew a walk, loading the bases. Rindfuss drove in one with a single, and Stannard blasted his second grand slam of the game, putting Pittsfield up 18-0. Kroboth and Bramer added solo shots, before Holden ended the inning with a well-executed 1-6-3 double play. Pittsfield hit six total home runs.
Stannard led the way, going 2 for 2 nine RBI. DeGroff was 2 for 2 with four RBI. Mele had three hits and three runs scored. Bramer and Lennon each had two hits and two runs scored.
David Prosser had a base hit for Holden. Ryan Anderson hit a double in the third inning.
"To get here is extremely difficult," Holden coach Scott Verrier said. "We had to run through 11 other teams. You're playing every two days and it takes a toll on the players and their minds.
"Now we go back and reflect on the season. ... It's over for us now. Fell one game short, but it was a good run, good season. The kids played very, very hard, they worked hard and I'm proud of them."
For Pittsfield, Perrault said his team will use Sunday to rest and will get back to preparing for a state championship run.
"Every level is tougher. We're going to improve our game and step it up," he said. "Hopefully we'll continue to improve, just like all these guys have improved since we've been together."
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