Pittsfield Babe Ruth 15s to state final
NORTH ADAMS -- Chris Tracy threw a four-hitter and Dan Carroll had three singles as Pittsfield edged Leominster 5-4 in the Babe Ruth Western State 15-year-old tournament semifinals at Alcombright Field on Tuesday.
Pittsfield faces North Adams at 6 p.m. tonight for the state crown.
Pittsfield actually had a 5-0 lead through 5 1/2 innings before No. 2 seed Leominster rallied with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to make things interesting. Pittsfield coach Jim Conant inserted relief pitcher Kevin Squires to shut the door.
"Chris pitched an outstanding game," said Conant. "He doesn't overpower anyone, but he has a good curveball and a good changeup. Kevin throws harder, and I think the contrast when he came in gave us the advantage."
Leominster had beaten Pittsfield three consecutive times going back to last year's tournament, including a 3-1 decision Friday.
"We were 0 and 3 against them until today," said Squires. "This was a big win for us."
The No. 3 seed scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take the lead. Nate Stump's RBI double in the fourth gave Pittsfield a 1-0 lead. In the fifth, Alex Weber singled, stole second and scored on an error for a 2-0 advantage.
Tracy, meanwhile, was cruising through the first five innings, giving up just two hits and walking none. He only struck out one batter, but his defense, in particular Weber at shortstop, was outstanding. Weber handled seven chances flawlessly.
"I was having a lot of success just locating the ball," said Tracy. "And the defense behind me was outstanding."
Tracy ran into trouble in the sixth, giving up two hits and a walk before giving way to Squires. A two-run single by Ryan Sullivan and a throwing error enabled Leominster to score a total of four runs in that inning.
That rally gave the Central Mass. team some hope, but Squires settled down in the bottom of the seventh and got three of the four batters he faced.
"I was a little concered," said Squires. "I hadn't thrown in a while."
The last batter for Leominster, second baseman Rusty Frederick, hit a shot that took Weber deep into the hole. He snagged the ball, dug it out of his glove and gunned it to Carroll for the last out.
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