Seventh-inning squeeze lifts Greylock baseball past Hoosac, 1-0
WILLIAMSTOWN -- As far as Dan Flynn is concerned, Eric Hirsch and some of his other Mount Greylock baseball teammates took care of the hard part in Friday's seventh inning.
His game-winning squeeze bunt? That was easy.
"I didn't have to do much," Flynn said. "I just had to put the ball in play."
Flynn's bunt with the bases loaded found the right spot in the infield, eluding pitcher Matt Braman and scoring Delaney Pudvar for the only run of a 1-0 win over Hoosac Valley.
Braman had come on in relief of Justin Nichols to start the bottom of the seventh, after Nichols shut out the Mounties (2-1, 2-1 South Division) for six innings and allowed just three hits. Braman struck out Jake Benzinger to open the frame, but Pudvar -- batting for Robby Buffis -- blooped a single into center field. Pudvar took second base on a passed ball, and Mikey Strizzi earned a four-pitch walk.
Eric Hirsch fought off four foul balls before poking a single to shallow left field to load the bases and set up Flynn's walk-off bunt. He knew if Hirsch reached base, the squeeze was on.
"We knew we had to do something in the last inning," Flynn said. "We were fired up to come back in and hit again."
The run made a winner of Ian Brink, who shut out the Hurricanes (0-1) on five hits in a light to steady rain. He struck out five and stranded six runners -- two in scoring position -- during his 100-pitch outing.
"At first, they weren't catching up to my fastball, but then I started mixing in my other pitches, and sort of caught them off balance," Brink said. "Also, I had great fielding behind me."
Hoosac's biggest threat to score was snuffed out in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Matt Koperniak reached on an infield single up the third-base line, and John Lewis followed with a single to center four pitches later.
Brink needed only one more pitch to get out of the inning, though, inducing a Nate Tomkiewicz lineout to second base.
"He was just pretty much overpowering, and he was around the zone, too," Greylock coach Steve Messina said. "He was as solid as you can be. Any time you can hold a team to no runs, you're doing something right. The kids feel a lot more confident with someone like that pitching, because they know they're going to be in the game no matter what happens."
Nichols also struck out five in his outing for Hoosac, never allowing a runner past second base. Greylock threatened in the third inning, putting two runners on with one out after a fielding error and a single, but Nichols struck out Jack Thistle looking and got Brink to ground into a fielder's choice, forcing out Flynn at third to end the frame.
"I thought Justin had command of just about everything," Hoosac coach Bob Rivard said. "He got a little tired late in the game, and threw a few more pitches than he had been early on, but for the most part, he had command of both his fastball and his curve."
Brink had one more inning in him than Nichols did.
"They had Buffis warming up. I don't know what would have happened the next inning," Rivard said. "Maybe we could have made [Brink] work a little harder in those last two innings."
Greylock 1, Hoosac 0
Hoosac 000 000 0 -- 0 5 1
Greylock 000 000 1 -- 1 6 0
Justin Nichols (6), Matt Braman (1) and Jacob Swistak. Ian Brink and Nick DiSanti. W -- Brink (1-0). L -- Braman (0-1).
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