Pittsfield South wins Little League 10/11 District 1 crown
NORTH ADAMS -- Shane Bernardo had a good feeling about the Little League District 1 10/11-year-old championship game after one inning.
He didn't need much time to develop the feeling, either.
Bernardo threw just six pitches to end the top half of the first inning, and his Pittsfield South teammates scored three times in the bottom half en route to an 11-1 win over Pittsfield Myron Gray West for the District 1 title at Fallon Field on Sunday.
"I knew that, if I was going to pitch that good, we had a good chance of winning," Bernardo said.
In his 47-pitch outing, Bernardo allowed just a second-inning run. South's offense, meanwhile, led 5-1 after three innings and broke the game open with a four-run fourth. South ended the game via mercy rule with two runs in the fifth, as Bernardo's RBI single to center scored Mia Potash to finish it.
"We've been hitting every morning at 8:30, and it's starting to show now," South coach Pat Bramer said. "We've been preaching for everybody to hit the ball to right field, and they did that today. The top of the order has been doing it all year for us."
Bernardo, London Steinman, Andrew Watkins and Pat Rindfuss drove in two runs each for the victors. Potash, South's cleanup hitter, had three hits, and catcher Kaden Codey executed a pair of perfect bunt singles.
Meanwhile, Bernardo and Bo Bramer combined to allow just a run on five hits by West batters. Nick Hall had an RBI single to left field in the second inning for the West all-stars, scoring Johnny Huska, who had doubled a batter earlier.
West starting pitcher Bryce Huffman went a strong 3 1/3 innings, registering a pair of strikeouts. His accuracy was good, with a number of first-pitch strikes in his 75-pitch outing; South's bats, though, were relentless, with four of their 14 hits going for extra bases.
"We've been starting out pretty slow the whole tournament, so we stressed today that we really had to come out in the first inning," Pat Bramer said. "Shane set the tone right away by throwing six pitches. It was a great job by him."
South's all-stars went 5-0 through the district tournament, and most are not strangers to success. Pat Bramer and assistants Shaun Stannard and Kevin Codey also coached many of these players on the Jimmy Fund team that won a tournament championship last year.
Huska was 2 for 2 for West, and Huffman, Hall and Owen Gutzmer picked up hits. Huffman's hit was a second-inning double to the left-center field wall.
South now awaits the District 4 champion, who it will meet Wednesday at Deming Field.
"We've got to keep improving on the offspeed pitch, and taking the ball to right field," the coach said.
To reach Matthew Sprague:
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On Twitter: @BE_MSprague.
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