Wahconah baseball beats St. Joe to reach Western Mass. tournament
PITTSFIELD -- It was clear that Wahconah's baseball team was playing with a sense of urgency. After all, a win over St. Joe on Friday would qualify them for the Western Mass. tournament.
That's just the way coach Jared Shannon wants his Warriors to handle things.
"When we can, we try to run," he said. "I think that helps get our offense going."
Wahconah's hitting and pitching really got things going Friday, though. The Warriors scored six times in the fifth inning, and Kyle Kirchner struck out six en route to a 9-2 win at the Doyle Complex.
Kirchner didn't allow a hit or a run until the bottom of the fifth, when Devon Johnston put St. Joe on the board with a solo home run to right. After that, John Fontaine's RBI single in the sixth was all Kirchner allowed, as the Warriors defense ended both the sixth and seventh innings by throwing runners out at the plate -- one on an assist by left fielder Evan Garvey, and the final out coming after Matt Schneider tracked down a passed ball and flipped to a streaking Kirchner to barely beat the runner to the plate.
"He's pitched all of our tough games this year," Shannon said. "This one was a big one for him; he's pitched against the best teams we've played."
Kirchner routinely threw first-pitch strikes to the St. Joseph hitters, and got out of a couple of late-inning jams. He walked three batters and hit one.
"My control was there all day," Kirchner, a junior, said. "My offspeed was really good, and I had good defense behind me."
Wahconah was up 1-0 in the fourth when designated hitter Ryan Washburn hit a 2-2 curveball from St. Joe pitcher Jay Coyne over the fence in right center to extend the lead. The Warriors then batted around in the fifth, getting RBI from Collin Parrott, Schneider, Ethan Wells, Andrew Kowalczyk and Patrick Jamross.
"We were kind of slow, not really up, and that [home run] set it off right there," Washburn said. "Got everyone excited, and we started hitting the ball."
Coyne was done on the hill after the sixth, but he didn't get behind in the pitch count against many of the batters he faced. He struck out four Warriors.
St. Joe coach Dennis Murphy admitted he wasn't looking to have a quick hook, so to speak, in the fifth.
"Usually, one bad inning all year long is what's gotten us," he said. "I've decided to let those guys go and get some on-the-job training.
"Take nothing away from Wahconah. They did a nice job today. [Kirchner] really pitched well."
The Warriors have a suspended game left to play next week. Lenox will head to Dalton on Monday afternoon, where the teams will pick up their game in the 13th inning, tied at 9.
Wahconah still has its sights set on a postseason home game, and Shannon wants his Warriors to keep the sense of urgency that served them so well Friday.
"Every game is important," he said. "We play a very hard schedule, with all the D-I teams we play. We play very few D-IV teams. With 11 wins, we might be able to get something good."
Wahconah 100 161 0 -- 9 10 1
St. Joe 000 011 0 -- 2 5 3
Kyle Kirchner and Matt Schneider. Jay Coyne (5), Kyle Crocker (2) and Brandon Peaslee. W -- Kirchner. L -- Coyne. 2B -- Wahconah 2 (Andrew Beaudoin 1, Patrick Jamross 1). HR -- Wahconah 1 (Ryan Washburn 1), St. Joe 1 (Devon Johnston 1).
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