Taconic baseball beats city rival Pittsfield in Western Mass. D-I opener
PITTSFIELD -- Taconic entered the Western Massachusetts Division I baseball tournament as the 10th and final team in the field.
"We have a chip on our shoulder," Taconic's Steve Witkowski said shortly after the Braves knocked city rival Pittsfield out of the tournament 4-0 on Thursday.
"We have a little chip on our shoulder. It's anyone's tournament."
Alex Carusotto tossed a three-hit shutout for the Braves, who not only won the rubber game against their city rivals, but advanced to play second-seeded Westfield in the tournament quarterfinals on Monday.
And they did it in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd at Wahconah Park.
"This is a huge opportunity for the team," said Carusotto. "I haven't heard of any doing this in a while. It was incredible."
The senior right-hander struck out four and didn't walk anyone. He faced 25 Pittsfield batters and the Generals put only five balls into the spacious Wahconah Park outfield against him.
"It really gets your heart pumping," Carusotto said of playing in front of what had to be the largest crowd he had ever played in front of in high school. "My adrenaline was going all game. I think that's what led to us scoring runs and keeping the whole team up."
At one point, Carusotto retired 10 consecutive Pittsfield hitters. The Generals had runners on second and third with one out in the second but did not score, and got a runner to second in the sixth and did not score. In the second, Carusotto struck out two PHS hitters and got the third out in the sixth via strikeout.
"He was mixing it up and keeping us really off balance," Pittsfield catcher Dom Traversa said. "We had a lot of pop-ups today. He was pitching real well."
The Braves broke a scoreless tie by scoring three times in the third inning. Pittsfield starter Ryan Grande walked Carusotto to open the third. Andrew Winston reached on an error by third baseman Austin O'Neil on a sacrifice bunt attempt and Mitch Clary blooped a single to right to score Carusotto. Witkowski loaded the bases with a single and Grande uncorked a wild pitch on the first offering to Joey Dewey, scoring Winston.
After Dewey walked to load the bases, Clary was picked off in a rundown from third. Kevin Squires hit a slow roller that Pittsfield second baseman Shane Tierney fielded and then tagged Dewey for the second out. Witkowski broke for home and Tierney's throw beat Witkowski home, but Traversa couldn't handle the throw for an error.
Winston made it 4-0 on a successful squeeze bunt in the fourth inning to end the scoring.
"You see the four up there," Pittsfield coach Bob Moynihan said, pointing to the number of errors on the scoreboard. "That's the biggest number in our column and it hurt us."
Taconic 003 100 0 -- 4 6 1
Pittsfield 000 000 0 -- 0 3 4
Alex Carusotto and Kevin Squires. Ryan Grande (6), Joe Gratton (1) and Dom Traversa. W -- Carusotto. L -- Grande.
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