Pittsfield 13s handed first loss at Babe Ruth World Series

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WESTFIELD — The Pittsfield 13-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars have a pretty good opportunity to push the reset button on their World Series adventures.

The New England champions managed only three hits against Greenville (N.C.) pitcher Colin Woolard, as the Pittsfield side dropped their first game of the tournament, losing 2-0 to the Southeast Regional champion Sunday night at Bullens Field.

"We haven't been hitting," Pittsfield's Owen Salvatore said. "We haven't been hitting this entire tournament. We don't hit until the third our fourth inning sometimes. Today we had [three] hits as a team. We've just got to wake up and start playing our ball.

"I know we're a lot better hitting team, and we'll prove it."

Through the first two games of the tournament, both close wins, Pittsfield had managed only nine hits in total. On Sunday night, Pittsfield had hits in the first, third and fifth innings, as Woolard retired the final seven batters in order.

The game tied Pittsfield and Greenville with identical 2-1 records in National Division pool play. Pittsfield will play Spokane, Wash., at 1 p.m. in the final game of pool play. Later on Monday, Greenville will play Centre County, Pa.

While pushing the reset button might not be a bad idea, Pittsfield manager Paul Brindle said one loss in pool play isn't close to a catastrophe.

"Like I said to the guys [in the dugout] tonight: One, it doesn't knock us out of the tournament, it doesn't put us in a bad situation," he said. "In reality, we're not even in a must-win [Monday], although we take every game as a must-win. I thought the kids played great.

"I said to them, listen, it was a 1-0 game going into the top of the seventh, we had [three] hits and we never put anything together at all that we could do a lot."

Credit Woolard for that. The right-hander went the distance, giving up three hits and two walks, while striking out six.

Pittsfield left five runners on during the game, stranding two at second.

Pittsfield's best scoring chance came in the third inning. Trailing 1-0, No. 9 hitter Keegan Crouse singled to left and stole second. The No. 10 hitter, Walker Abdallah, put down a perfect two-strike bunt, moving Crouse to third on the sacrifice. Nick Brindle was the next batter and, with the infield in, grounded right to shortstop. Alex Popovich fielded the ball cleanly and threw home, where catcher Davis Hathaway put the tag on the running Crouse.

"Colin Woolard, in the last game of the regional, pitched a seven-inning game on only 58 pitches. He did exactly what I expected him to do tonight," Greenville manager Hunter Cannon said, "and I couldn't be happier."

Pittsfield starter Cam Sime, meanwhile, was walking a tightrope all five innings he pitched. Sime gave up a first-inning run, but worked out of bases-loaded jams without further damage. Greenville left the bases loaded in the first, the second and the fifth innings.

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The winning run was scored in the first inning. Greenville's Collin West won a nine-pitch battle with Sime and ended up at second on a single and an error. West went to third on Cole Smith's ground out and scored on a wild pitch.

Greenville was not done, as Andrew Wallen hit an infield single. One out later, Marcus Bird singled and Popovich walked, but Sime found a little extra and struck J.J. Myrick out swinging to end the threat.

In the second, Greenville loaded the bases with one out but Sime struck out Cole Smith looking and got Wallen to pop to third baseman Damon Pause to end the threat. Greenville loaded the bases again in the fifth, but Popovich popped to shortstop Evan Blake.

As the innings wore on, Pittsfield's chances grew fewer and fewer. In fact, Pittsfield had only one ball reach the outfield over the final four innings, and that came off the bat of Pause to end the fourth inning.

Twice, Greenville second baseman West made tough grabs on sinking line drives to rob Pittsfield of a couple of hits.

"We hit the ball very hard, but right at guys," Paul Brindle said. "I didn't think we were up there taking bad swings. I didn't think we were up there swinging at bad pitches. It was one of those games where you hit the ball hard, and the baseball gods are against you today."

Greenville picked up an insurance run in the seventh inning against Blake, who had come in to relieve Sime in the sixth. Jay Coemmons walked, stole second and took third on an infield hit by West. After Cole Smith looked at strike three, Andrew Wallen was intentionally walked to set up a force play at any base. Woolard hit the first pitch he saw to left. Sime, who moved to left on the pitching change, ran a long way to make the grab. He could not throw out Clemmons, who tagged and scored on the sacrifice fly.

Woolard set Pittsfield down 1-2-3 in the seventh to pick up a bounce-back win for his team. Greenville had lost 3-2 to Spokane on Saturday.

Now, it's Pittsfield's turn to try and bounce back.

"Tomorrow, we have to come back with a completely different energy," Salvatore said. "This our wake-up call."

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Greenville     100     000     1     —     2     8     1

Pittsfield     000     000     0     —     0     3     2

Colin Woolard and Davis Hathaway. Cam Sime (5), Evan Blake (2) and Antonio Scalise. W — Woolard. L — Sime.


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