PITTSFIELD — Pittsfield American’s Christian Barry inflicted damage at the plate and on the mound during Wednesday’s 8-1 victory over Rutland in the Section IV tournament opener.
“It seems to always start with him,” Coach Ty Perrault said of Barry.
The American 12s’ standout served as the igniting force for Pittsfield, opening up the game with two strikeouts and tattooing a baseball over the left-field fence in the bottom half of the first inning to score Pittsfield’s first run.
Pittsfield Americans beat Rutland 8-1
The Pittsfield American 12s beat Rutland 8-1 in the Section IV tournament opener at home at Deming Park in Pittsfield.
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“We’ve been starting really slow in our games... [the home run] gave me a lot more confidence,” Barry said.
Sebastian Herrera and Kevin Konefal followed by crossing the plate at the bottom of the first, working walks, advancing, and scoring on passed balls.
The confidence Barry described was evident in the second inning, as he totaled four strikeouts in the frame. The second batter Barry faced reached first on a dropped third strike but never posed a threat with the host’s ace finding the strike zone often.
The bottom of the second inning was a continuation of Pittsfield’s offensive pressure on Rutland. Barry worked a walk on a full count. Cam Blake advanced Barry on a fielder’s choice and Herrera scored Barry on a line drive to the left-center field gap that stretched the Pittsfield lead to 4-0.
The American hurler earned three additional strikeouts in the top of the third, totaling 41 pitches after his last batter in that inning.
Barry surrendered the first Rutland hit of the evening in the top of the fourth, which preceded his 10th strikeout, and that concluded his day on the mound.
“He did a great job on his 50-pitch limit,” Perrault said. “He got us to the fourth inning, you can’t ask for much more than that,”
Blake came to the bump in the top of the fourth with a runner on first and one out. Blake, however, rose to the occasion by striking out one and earning a groundout for the last out of the frame.
Pittsfield’s offensive effort in the bottom of the fourth painted the outfield with hard-hit drives to the Rutland defense. The first out went to left field, the second went to centerfield, and the third went to right field, making a quick half-inning
Rutland gained some momentum in the top of the fifth inning by working the count and putting the ball in play. Herrera came in to relieve Blake with runners on first and second, but immediately loaded the bases on a wilde pitch and a walk.
Herrera composed himself with a strikeout, but a base hit by Rutland’s DJ Macciko scored the visitors’ first and only run of the game. Herrera again battled with the bases loaded and struck out the next batter.
In the bottom of the fifth, Pittsfield rallied four insurance runs showcasing what can happen when the ball is put into play.
“We put the bat on the ball. You try to take advantage of any mistake because that team doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Perrault said.
Hits by Herrera, Ryan “Goo” Stannard, Robby Bazinet, and batted balls by Kevin Konefal and Jon Jon Mullen all put runners on base. The first four of whom scored, extending the Pittsfield lead to 8-1.
In the top of the sixth, Konefal came in to close. Relying on his defense, he got the first two outs via groundout and finished the game with a statement strikeout.
Konefal was the fourth pitcher that Perrault rotated in on Wednesday night, showing depth in this American rotation.
“I try to get the kids out there and let them get a feel for the tournament and shake out any jitters they have… They all looked good today,” Perrault said.
Pittsfield American will next travel to Longmeadow today to play its second sectional tournament game.