WESTFIELD – Sheffield Post 340 fell behind early and could not make it back in a 6-3 loss to Westfield Post 124 in the Western Mass. American Legion baseball tournament at Bullens Field on Friday night.
One bad inning put Sheffield in an early deficit.
“We've struggled a little bit at times this year,” Sheffield coach Jesse Carpenter said. “We can't seem to do all three phases of the game all in the same day. Pitch well, field well and hit well.”
Westfield scored four times in the bottom of the second. Sheffield committed two errors and gave up three walks in the inning.
“There were plays we could have made in that inning.” Carpenter said. “We unfortunately had some walks. Putting them on without them earning it.”
Sheffield plays at Szot Park in Chicopee at 1 p.m. on Saturday against Aldenville Post 337 in the losers' bracket. One more loss and Sheffield's season is over.
“We are do or die now,” Carpenter said. “
Sheffield starter Alek Zdziarski shook off a tough start to pitch well in his final four innings to give his team a chance to climb back into the game.
“After that inning I knew I would have to shut the door to give us a chance to win,” Zdziarski said. “I just pushed that inning out of my mind. I just developed the mentality of throwing the ball through their bat.”
Zdziarski struck out four and gave up four hits, four walks and struck out four in six innings.
In the first two innings, Sheffield got runners in scoring position but could not come away with any runs.
Jack Carpenter hit an infield single in the first before Nick Nicotra drew a walk in the first inning. With one out Westfield shortstop Brennan Jarvis made a reaching catch on a hard-hit line drive and doubled up Carpenter at second base to end the threat.
In the second inning Westfield's Riley Sullivan got a strikeout with runners at second and third to end the inning.
“When you get those kinds of opportunities against a good team you have to cash in,” Carpenter said. “We constantly get guys on base. We just have to push them across the plate. But we gave ourselves a chance.”
Jake Lombobard drew a bases-loaded walk for an RBI before Jarvis' RBI ground out for Westfield in the second inning. Two more runs scored on errors to give Westfield a 4-0 lead.
Sheffield quickly got back in the game in the top of the third, scoring three runs. Sheffield loaded the bases with patience at the plate and drew four walks in the inning.
After a couple pass balls scored runs and an RBI ground out by Gabe Davis, Sheffield cut the Westfield lead to 4-3.
Sheffield would not score again.
Sullivan had seven walks before coming out in the fourth inning Reliever Brody Zabielski settled things down for Westfield with four strikeouts.
In the top of the third Westfield scored to make it 5-3. Dan Provost took off from third base on a stolen base attempt and avoided the tag at home to score the run.
Jarvis knocked in a another insurance run with an RBI single for Westfield in the bottom of the fourth to increase the lead to 6-3.
Jake Jachym struck out the side in the top of the sixth inning to close out Sheffield.