Taconic baseball uses Mestre shutout to top Pittsfield
PITTSFIELD >> In a game played at historic Wahconah Park, with pregame festivities including the honoring of former Pittsfield baseball coach Bob Moynihan and Pittsfield coaching legend Buddy Pellerin, the Pittsfield and Taconic baseball teams played an old-fashioned pitchers' duel on Saturday.
The teams combined for five total hits, but the Braves (12-1, 5-0 Berkshire North) capitalized on their late-game scoring opportunity to take a 3-0 win over the Generals. Jack Cooney led the sixth inning off with a walk and stole second base. Jack McNeice followed at the plate, putting himself in an 0-2 hole after failing to drop down a sacrifice bunt. He regrouped, however, taking a fastball up the middle to score Cooney for the winning run. The Braves added a run on a bases-loaded walk, and Brett Murphy scored from third on a throwing error for the final score.
"He's that type of kid. ... He's got that mentality, 'I missed a couple sacrifices, but guess what? I'm going to do my job,'" Taconic coach Kevin Stannard said of McNeice. "He didn't let being down two strikes bother him. Just a good at-bat."
The one run of support was enough for Braves' starter Izaiya Mestre. He went the distance, striking out nine, allowing three hits and walking one.
The junior right-hander walked the second batter he faced on Saturday, then an error by second basemen Matt Stracuzzi put two runners in scoring position. But unlike Taconic, Pittsfield (6-6, 2-3) could not make the Braves pay for the walk, stranding two in scoring position.
"Lead-off walks always come back to kill you," Pittsfield coach Seamus Morrison said. "We've actually been pretty lucky this year throwing a lot of strikes. Recently we've been bitten by the walk.
"Anytime you put a guy on base with no effort on their part it hurts."
The walks were the only real blemish on Sam Fick's start. He allowed only two hits, struck out three and walked five. Four of those walks came after the third inning, as fatigue may have set in for the senior.
For Mestre, he remained strong throughout, mixing in his curveball to keep hitters off balance.
"I just tried being confident with [the curveball]," he said. "My confidence had been down with it, so I tried to keep my confidence up with it and I guess it worked.
"I tried getting them off balance with the off-speed and then blow the fastball by them. That works and the hype [of the game] got to me. I think I was throwing a little harder."
Mestre said he fed off the atmosphere at Wahconah Park and both teams enjoyed the experience. Morrison said he wants to continue the tradition of playing Taconic at the stadium.
"It was great for the kids to get out here and play," he said. "Unfortunately, they don't have the opportunity to play on this field as much as in years past. ... Now, for a lot of these kids, it's the first time they've stepped on this field.
"Both teams played well and Taconic came out on top. I think the fans got their moneys worth and it would be great if we could continue a tradition like this and play at Wahconah Park for the kids."
Izaiya Mestre and Brett Murphy. Sam Fick and Austin Houghtaling. W — Mestre. L — Fick.
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252.
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