Pittsfield baseball comes back for win in extra innings
TROY, N.Y. >> It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes, though, a few words paint a masterpiece.
"Literally, it's just like a fairy tale," Pittsfield pitcher Sam Fick said after the Generals walked off with a nine-inning, 6-5 win over Averill Park (N.Y.) in a Coaches vs. Cancer game on a soggy Friday afternoon at Joe Bruno Stadium.
The Generals were one pitch away from leaving here with a tough loss. Pittsfield had come from behind twice to tie the game. The third time won it for Pittsfield (5-3) and sent the Warriors (2-13) home.
"It's huge. It shows the resilience of our team," said Pittsfield's Shane Tierney, who scampered home with the winning run on a single to left by Quinn Matthews. "We never gave up. We never stopped playing. It's going to help us out when it comes to playoff time."
Both teams battled each other and the elements, as there were steady showers for much of the day.
Pittsfield had forced extra innings on Fick's RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning. Fick, who started the game as the PHS designated hitter, relieved Chris Tracy in the seventh and retired six of the seven batters he faced.
Pittsfield, meanwhile, got Matthews to second base in the eighth inning but could not bring him home. That almost came back to haunt the Generals because of one pitch in the top of the ninth.
It was the first pitch Fick threw to Dylan Jones, and Jones launched a two-seam fastball into the left-field bullpen, a ball that traveled about 330 feet.
The Generals flashed some leather to get out of the inning. Averill Park's Kevin kelly singled, went to second on a sacrifice and then took third on an error. But PHS catcher Austin Houghtaling caught Kelly leaning too far off third and picked the Warriors runner off the bag. Then Dylan Burns hit a sinking fly ball to right, but Gabe Coyne came up with the sliding grab to end the inning. Coyne figured in the comeback.
Averill Park's Luke Pascarella, was into his seventh inning of relief. He had only thrown two innings all season, but was working like a seasoned vet. He retired the first two hitters and then had a 3-2 pitch on Coyne, when he ripped a ball down the left-field line, ending up on second. In three previous at-bats, Coyne had not put the ball out of the infield.
"After two strikes, I just relaxed and settled down," said the PHS junior. "and just tried to put the ball in play. I knew it was a double right away."
That brought Tierney up, and he hit a slow roller toward second. A low throw gave Tierney the bag. While that was going on, PHS coach Seamus Morrison was sending Coyne home, and a throwing error by first baseman Nate Lapinski allowed Coyne to touch home with the tying run. Tierney went to second and scored on the next pitch as Matthews ripped a solid single to left. Burns had no chance trying to throw home.
"I made sure I followed Shane all the way down to home plate to make sure he touched the plate," said PHS coach Seamus Morrison. "It's something we talk about at practice. Make sure you go the bag, touch the plate, then go get the guy who made the hit."
Which is exactly what Tierney and the rest of the Generals did as Matthews stood at first with his fists in the air. Soon he was surrounded by teammates.
"I was just trying to calm myself down. I was trying not to think, because I've been overthinking lately. I just drove it into the gap, and it worked out," said Matthews, talking about his at-bat. "Right on contact, I knew it was in there."
It was a game where Pittsfield never led. Averill Park scored three runs, one earned, in the first inning. Pittsfield tied the game for the first time in the fifth and then tied the game again in the sixth.
"We got the first two outs, then we got two strikes and two close pitches. Then it fell apart," said Averill Park coach Jim Kahler. "As I told my kids, you don't beat good teams with five errors, you just can't — and they're a good team. They were game the whole way."
Tracy had a shaky start, giving up three runs in the first inning. But he pitched the next four shutout innings and ended his day having given up four runs, two earned, on four hits in six innings. Pittsfield chased Averill Park starter Greg Allard in the third.
Pittsfield had nine hits to seven for Averill Park. Matthews and Griff Manns, who had a very good game at shortstop, had two hits each for PHS.
"This has just been the way our team has been all year," said Morrison. "We have never given up or once laid down. We have always battled."
Two outs when winning run scored.
Greg Allard (2 2/3), Luke Pascarella (6) and D.J. Morone. Chris Tracy (6), Sam Fick (3) and Austin Houghtaling. W—Fick. L—Pascarella. 2B—AP (Matt Romano), P (Gabe Coyne). HR—AP (Dylan Jones).
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.