Working late, Pittsfield 15s win their Babe Ruth World Series opener
VAN BUREN, Ark. -- Van Buren players didn't go to bed early the night before school started. And they were punished for it.
Pittsfield was able to scratch across a pair of runs in both the third and fifth innings to earn a 4-1 win against the host, Van Buren, in the 13-15 year old Babe Ruth World Series at the Field of Dreams.
Pittsfield (1-0 in pool play) got a complete game from starter Steve Witkowski, as the right-hander was dominant for most of his outing. Witkowski scattered four hits while striking out seven en route to picking up the win in Pittsfield's tournament opener. Witkowski did not allow a walk until there were two outs in the seventh.
"He has been solid for us," Pittsfield coach Bob Shade said. "He pitched twice in the New England region and both were one-hit shutouts. He had good command of his fastball and his slider was his out pitch today."
Van Buren had a chance to strike first but stranded a pair of runners in the top half of the third. Pittsfield took advantage in the home half. Mitch Clary and Dom Traversa each had an RBI in the third to give Pittsfield a 2-0 lead.
"He was one of the better pitchers we've seen," Van Buren coach Wayne Jones said of Witkowski. "Once he established that [slider], he was tough to hit. We were trying to post some runs, but he did what he needed to do to get outs."
Van Buren (1-2) attempted to get back into the game in the fifth as it got an RBI from Kyle Dasso, closing the gap to 2-1. But Pittsfield quickly answered in the bottom half of the inning.
Devon Johnston and Anthony Jones each had RBI groundouts in the bottom of the fifth to push the Pittsfield lead to 4-1. That was more than enough for Witkowski.
Witkowski struck out the side in the sixth and looked to get stronger as the game progressed deep into the night.
The game ended at 12:31 a.m. CDT, after its start was delayed 2 hours, 25 minutes due to a weather delay and it being the fourth game of the day. Nevertheless, it is something Shade won't give back.
"It was good to get out here with a win," Shade said. "I don't want to put it in the ugly category, but it wasn't pretty. We had chances to have big innings early but just didn't get the job done."
Pittsfield 4, Van Buren 1
Van Buren 000 010 0--1 4 0
Pittsfield 002 020 x--4 5 1
Rapin, Steinmetz (5) and Hogan; Witkowski and Traversa. W--Witkowski. L --Rapin.
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