Pittsfield Aces bats get going late in win over South County Maroon
PITTSFIELD — For four innings, South County Maroon starting pitcher Nick Nicotra had stymied the Pittsfield Aces. That all changed in the fifth.
The Pittsfield side sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of the fifth inning, scoring nine runs and chasing Nicotra from the mound. Those nine runs were more than enough as Josh Lennon and Luke Melle combined on the bump to beat Maroon 14-2 Wednesday at Taconic High School.
"It seems like that's been our M.O. this summer is in the fourth, fifth, sixth innings, we start hitting, we start coming around," Aces coach Seamus Morrison said. "Whether it's getting another look at the pitcher or being comfortable in the box, we start hitting and it makes it easier on the pitchers, and it's not that close."
The game was a battle of two of the top teams, by record, in Babe Ruth. With the result, Pittsfield is now 5-1, while South County Maroon falls to 4-3.
Ironically, the two batters who got the Aces' fifth inning rolling were in their first at-bats of the game.
South County Maroon had scored single runs in the first and third innings to hold a 2-0 lead after four. Owen Gutzmer worked a six-pitch walk to start the top of the fifth. He stole second on the first pitch to Eddie Mullin, who later yanked a 2-2 pitch from Nicotra to left, scoring Gutzmer.
Lennon ended the inning when he forced Mullin at second. It was Lennon's second at-bat of the frame. But by the time the Aces were done, they had scored nine runs on six hits. Dan DiMassimo, who was 3 for 4 with three runs batted in, had the big hit in the inning. He went the other way for a 2-run double to right off of reliever Cole Zucco. Mullin was one of three Pittsfield hitters to bat twice in the fifth. He had an RBI single to go with his RBI double. Aidan Hillard had a good day as Pittsfield's No. 10 hitter. He was 3 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBI. He also walked which meant he reached base in all five of his trips to the plate.
Lennon had a rough start to his day. He gave up an unearned run in the first inning on a throwing error by Pittsfield catcher Michael Puskey. Lennon didn't help his cause by walking the first three hitters he faced, all on 3-2 counts.
But the right-hander settled in, giving up a run on Ricky Armstrong's base hit in the third. Lennon finished by giving up two runs, one earned, on two hits.
"It's just getting maybe a few more warm-up pitches. He tends to have his body go forward and his arm kind of drag through," Morrison said. "Once we got him to slow down and sit back on his back leg, he started pumping strikes."
Melle came on in the fifth and threw three scoreless innings to finish out the victory. He gave up one hit, a double to Nicotra in the sixth, and struck out three. He retired the final five hitters of the game.
The Aces are back in action Thursday at 5:30 p.m. against the Pittsfield Storm. South County Maroon will play the Storm on Aug. 1 at 1:30.
Aces 000 091 — 14 14 3
Maroon 101 000 0 — 2 3 3
Josh Lennon (4), Luke Melle (3) and Michael Puskey, Owen Kroboth. Nick Nicotra (4+), Cole Zucco (1/3) Jacob Munch (2) Cole Bissaillon (2/3) and Blake Cella. W — Lennon. L — Nicotra. 2B — A: Michael Grady 2, Dan DiMassimo. M: Nicotra.
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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