Spartans win first Western Mass. baseball title by blanking Greenfield
AMHERST -- Bobby Kinne just wasn't going to miss this party.
Kinne, who left Monument Mountain's quarterfinal win over Wahconah on Monday with a concussion and missed the Spartans' semifinal win over Athol, was in the starting lineup for the top-seeded Spartans and was in the middle of a celebratory pile after pitcher Peter Oggiani struck out Greenfield's Tyler Jacques to give the Spartans their first-ever Western Massachusetts baseball title.
"I wasn't going to miss this for anything," the Monument shortstop said after his team's 4-0 Division III win over the Green Wave. "This is something we've been working [on] for four years and I love these guys. I don't even know what to say, I'm so happy."
Oggiani threw a 94-pitch shutout for the top seeds against No. 6 Greenfield. At one point, he retired nine consecutive hitters and gave up only four hits. The senior right-hander struck out three, didn't walk anyone, and the Green Wave only had two runners reach second base in the game.
"It's just amazing," said Oggiani. "I had a good feeling about today. We came here and it was a big secret about Bobby [starting], but I knew that he was going to come back and play.
"That was really special for him to come back and be a part of it."
With the win, the Spartans advance to the state Division III semifinals on Tuesday at Tivnan Field in Worcester between the winner of Sat urday night's game between Northbridge and Hudson.
The Spartans avoided Green field ace Garrett Hud son, who had pitched in Thurs day's 7-2 semifinal win over Drury. The Green Wave seemed a little shaky from the start as Monument's Trevor McFarland worked a leadoff walk, stole second and went to third on a ground out by Kinne. One inning later, the Spartans struck.
With one out Dominic DeFelice singled, took second on a wild pitch by Parker Hickey and went to third on Henry Morrison's single. After James Allentuck struck out, Spartan head coach Tom Hankey had the runners going. Morrison was credited with a stolen base and DeFelice scored when the throw by catcher Jacob Elwell went into center field.
Nate Cormier, who had two of the Spartans' five hits out of the No. 9 spot, singled home Morrison. Cormier stole second and scored when McFarland singled to short. Hudson also committed an error on the play.
"It was huge. Pitching with a lead is obviously better than pitching from behind or being 0-0," said Oggiani. "That made the difference for us.
"That's our M.O. We get scrappy runs and we had some guys step up and hit the ball. We get scrappy runs and we capitalize on their errors."
Monument made it 4-0 in the third, scoring a run on no hits and three costly Greenfield errors. Uncharacteristically, the Green Wave committed five errors -- two more than their hit total and equal to Monument's hit total.
"We were aggressive on the base paths and that was the game plan," said Hankey. "Keep the pressure on them."
From that point, it was all about Oggiani and the Mon ument defense. Second baseman DeFelice did make an error to put the lead runner on in the fifth inning, but Greenfield couldn't take advantage of it. The final out of the inning was recorded by Kinne, who made a sliding grab of a grounder off the bat of Owen Schilling, and slid right into second to force Tyler Jacques with the final out of the inning.
From that point, Hickey was outstanding. He allowed two runners over the final three innings and held the Spartans without a hit. But as good as Hickey was, Oggiani was just as good.
"Peter was just a bulldog out there," said Monument catcher T.J. Shumsky. "He was just mowing kids down and throwing strikes all over the place."
Greenfield's Kevin Luippold led off the seventh with a solid single to right, but Oggiani bore down and got the side in order to clinch the title. Monument athletic director Paul Gibbons is going to have to look for a place to put a baseball banner up in the gym.
"I've pictured that banner. For 15 years, I've been wanting that damn banner," said Hankey. "Now we've got it."
Greenfield 000 000 0 -- 0 4 3
Monument 031 000 x -- 4 5 1
Parker Hickey and Jacob Elwell. Peter Oggiani and T.J. Shumsky. W -- Oggiani. L -- Hickey 2B Greenfield 1 (Garrett Hudson).
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