Mele, Aces rally for win over South County Navy in Babe Ruth action

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PITTSFIELD — South County Navy was aiming for its second win in as many days in Babe Ruth 16-18 League action, but Luke Mele and the Aces had other ideas on Saturday morning at Taconic High School.

Mele delivered a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the fourth inning, which was the difference as Aces took 7-5 win over Navy.

Aidan Hillard walked on four pitches to load the bases with just on out in the bottom of the fourth. The Aces (6-1) were trailing 4-3 at the time, but Mele stepped into the box and crushed the first pitch he saw, allowing Nate Murray, Josh Lennon and Hillard to all score.

"[Hillard] got four balls in a row so I was looking for a pitch to drive," Mele said. "Most coaches tell you to take a pitch, but I was ready to go. [A hit like that] picks up the team, especially being down."

Mele finished the day 2-for-4 and got the bats going for the Aces in the bottom of the first with a single. Shortstop Jake Taylor followed with a double to the fence that plated Mele.

Before the Aces took the field, they already trailed 1-0 behind some strong base running by Navy (4-3). Luke Patella, who reached base in all four at-bats, started the game by reaching on an error. Cooper Shepardson following with a single and with runners at the corners, a double-steal worked to perfection. Patella nabbed home in order to give Navy the early 1-0 lead. In fact, the double-steal worked again in the fifth inning as Patella crossed the plate for the second time on another double steal with Shepardson. The small-ball was working for Navy, but there were some big bats in attendance. Alek Zdziarski cranked a double down the third-base line as Peyton Doyle cruised into third, after starting the inning with a single. Jack Seward-Dailey brought home both runs with a single to give Navy the 3-1 advantage at the end of two innings.

Zdziarski started on the mound for Navy and pitched 3 2/3 innings while striking out five. Patella went the rest of the way and didn't allow a run in 2 1/3 innings of work, striking out five in the process.

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The Aces knotted the game in the third inning as Mike Grady and Lucian Lamoreaux brought in runs.

Grady got the nod on the mound and pitched four innings while striking out three and allowing four earned runs. The Aces were without a few players, including Owen Kroboth and Eddie Mullen, who were at a tournament with the the Berkshire Aces travel team. As a result, a handful of players had to play out of position, including Danny DiMassimo. After pitching in a 5-3 win on Friday night, the Pittsfield graduate was behind the plate on Saturday, something he hadn't done since his freshmen year.

"This morning he said he would catch no problem after pitching last night, that is just a great teammate," coach Seamus Morrison said "Situations like that, especially with a guy who has other stuff to worry about, you love seeing kids step up. It shows the want to play and it doesn't matter what they're doing — it's the love of the game."

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Taylor took the mound for the Aces in the fifth inning and worked his way out of a couple tight spots. Outside of Patalla scoring on a double-steal in the fifth, Taylor kept Navy off the board. He closed the book on the win after pitching three innings and striking out three.

"They've really jelled as a team and pick each other up. It is great to see, especially early in the season where kids don't necessarily know each other," Morrison said. "To be able to get out here and have the weather cooperating — it is great to get into the swing of things."

The Aces are rolling with their fifth-straight win after starting the season 1-1. Through seven games they have a run differential of 31, the best mark in the league.

"We finally got our chemistry and everything is starting to come together," Mele said. "I know the masks stink, but it is great to be out here playing."

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These two teams will get to know each other a bit as they'll meet again on Monday at Taconic High School with first pitch slated for 5:30 p.m.

———

South County     120     110     0     —     5     7     1

Aces     102     400     x     —     7     9     3

W: Grady; L: Zdziarski; S: Taylor.

2B — SC 1 (Zdziarski); A 2 (Mele, Taylor).

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.

Aces     102     400     x     —     7     9     3

W: Grady; L: Zdziarski; S: Taylor.

2B — SC 1 (Zdziarski); A 2 (Mele, Taylor).

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.

W: Grady; L: Zdziarski; S: Taylor.

2B — SC 1 (Zdziarski); A 2 (Mele, Taylor).

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.


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