Dalton-Hinsdale 12U Little League team beats Great Barrington to advance to championship game of District 1 tournament
PITTSFIELD — Dalton-Hinsdale advances to meet Pittsfield American in the Little League District 1 championship series, and it will carry with it some lessons from Great Barrington.
In the consolation bracket final, manager Ben Melle's squad hung on to topple Great Barrington 12-9, nearly watching a 10-0 lead evaporate before sealing the deal.
"The coach learned a few things and the kids learned a few things," said Melle, who will guide Dalton-Hinsdale into the finals tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Deming Park. "Great Barrington, I give a lot of credit. Those kids did a great job battling back."
Melle's squad rolled up 10 runs in the bottom of the first inning, getting RBI hits from Ryan Adams, Bo Walton, Evan Alfonso and a two-run single out of Charlie Wendell, before the visitors were forced to the bullpen and reliever Mark Bailey.
Bailey's introduction to play was a rough one. An infield single loaded the bases for Patrick McLaughlin, who slammed a two-strike pitch over the center-field fence for a grand slam.
After that, Bailey settled Great Barrington down. He allowed just one earned run on four hits the rest of the way.
In the meantime, Great Barrington found the offensive spark it needed in No. 8 hitter Collin Parker. After a hitless second by Bailey, Parker led off the third with a rope into the right field corner. He rounded the bases ahead of the throw, and the visitors had life. Matt Lowe singled and scored as three more runs came home in the inning.
"They stuck to it and played their hearts out," said Great Barrington manager Steve Curtin. "It's a great group of kids.
"They fought back. Down 10 runs and you come back, you got to give these kids a lot of credit. They played all the way through. We tell them all the time, 'don't ever give up.'"
Wendell got the start for Dalton-Hinsdale, but was forced out after a mound visit in the third. Braedyn Melle came in and got the final out.
Parker ignited another rally with a leadoff double in the fourth. He was driven in by Carter Lutz. Lowe singled and scored again, while Garrett Curtin smacked an RBI single to help load the bases. Kyle Wellenkamp made Dalton-Hinsdale pay for a second consecutive uncontested walk issued to Khalil Carlson with a three-run triple to the fence in left.
Ryan Marauszwski scored an insurance run in the third, meaning Wellenkamp's rocket brought Great Barrington within 11-9.
Melle snared a liner off the bat of Blake Smith to strand Wellenkamp at third. He caught Parker looking to start the fifth, and relied on McLaughlin's glove work at shortstop to make three fielder's choice plays around two singles in the sixth to secure the win.
"They rely on each other," said the winning manager. "Staying positive. We have some good leaders on this team."
Barrington 004 500 — 9 10 4
Dalton 01 01x — 12 9 3
Owen Wade (1/3), Mark Bailey (4 2/3) and Garrett Curtin. Charlie Wendell (2 2/3), Braedyn Melle (3 1/3) and Matt Kinzer. W — Wendell. L — Wade. 2B — GB (Collin Parker), 3B — GB (Kyle Wellenkamp), HR — GB (Parker); DH (Patrick McLaughlin).
Mike Walsh can be reached at email@example.com, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.