GREAT BARRINGTON — Everything is new for high school baseball in 2022. New leagues and new rivals. One thing that isn’t new — and never gets old — is winning a title.
“For the first time being in the Suburban East, it’s a nice little feather in our caps,” Monument Mountain coach Tom Hankey said after the Spartans knocked off Mount Greylock 3-0 in the final regular-season game for both teams Wednesday.
“We don’t take that stuff lightly,” he said.
With the move of Berkshire County schools into the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference and the establishment of state tournaments based on school sizes, Monument was put into a league with Greylock, Wahconah and Valley teams Belchertown and Ludlow.
It all came down to Wednesday because if Monument had lost, the Spartans would have dropped two games to Greylock, the only Suburban East losses. The Mounties came in having lost once to Wahconah and needed a win to clinch.
“Yes we are,” said Monument’s Jayder Raifstanger, who quickly put it all into perspective. “It means nothing much until we win everything.”
Jack Bissaillon’s two-run single scored Jayder Raifstanger and Bissaillon’s brother Cole in the fourth inning. While the Spartans added a run on Jayder Raifstanger’s RBI triple, the two runs in the fourth inning were enough for starter Owen Wade and Raifstanger to complete the four-hit shutout.
Wade went the first four innings and came out after giving up a leadoff double to Dylen Harrison in the fifth. Raifstanger, who has been a closer for the Spartans, came on and walked Greylock’s Jack Cangelosi on four pitches. The next batter was Tej Patel, who tried to bunt the runner over. He didn’t make contact on the first pitch and Monument catcher Cole Bissaillon threw down to Braxton Crandall at third, who slapped the tag on the sliding Harrison.
Raifstanger gave up a hit in the sixth and a hit in the seventh, and the game ended when Tej Patel skied a ball to Cam Raifstanger in center. The center fielder squeezed the ball, and that was the game.
Hankey told reporters after the game that it was as good as Wade had pitched all year. The right-hander scattered two hits and two walks, while striking out four.
The day started inauspiciously as he walked leadoff hitter Derek Paris on an 11-pitch at-bat. Cole Bissaillon threw Paris out trying to steal and Wade struck out Anthony Welch and Landen Jamula to end the inning.
The big Greylock threat came in the third. With one out, losing pitcher Cangelosi singled to right and went to third after Patel’s bunt was misplayed by Wade and Patel ended up on second. The Spartans walked Paris intentionally. Then, with the infield in, Welch hit one to Raifstanger, who was playing in. He threw home to force pinch runner Tommy Art and Cole Bissaillon fired to first to complete the double play.
“I’ve been getting the fastball up in the zone recently, so I got it down,” said Wade. “I limited the walks. That’s really what I struggle with. That was really big for me today.”
The Spartans took the lead in the fourth. Jayder Raifstanger and Cole Bissaillon hit back-to-back singles. After Marco Buffoni fouled out and Peter Free reached on an infield hit, Jack Bissaillon hit an 0-1 pitch to left, scoring Raifstanger and his brother.
Monument made it 3-0 when Cam Raifstanger beat out a single to shortstop with one out. Jayder followed with an RBI triple over the head of Chase Doyle in center. Jayder Raifstanger and Cole Bissaillon each had two hits for Monument.
“We have to give [Cangelosi] run support,” Greylock coach Rick Paris said of his left-hander, who on most days would win giving up three runs on eight hits. “It’s as simple as that. Our guys know it, but it happens.”
Greylock 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
Monument 000 210 x — 3 8 2
Jack Cangelosi and Derek Paris. Owen Wade 4+, Jayder Raifstanger 3 and Cole Bissaillon. W — Wade. L — Cangelosi. Sv. — J. Raifstanger. 3B — MM: J. Raifstanger.