Pittsfield American 10-12s beat Dalton-Hinsdale to book spot in District 1 championship game
PITTSFIELD — One thing is certain: Pittsfield American will play for the 10-12 Donald Gleason District 1 Little League championship on Friday.
Pittsfield American cruised through pool play with a 4-0 record, wrapping up with a 17-2, run-rule victory over Dalton-Hinsdale in the final pool-play game for both teams.
Pittsfield American scored six runs in the first inning. After going down in order in the second, American sent 16 batters to the plate in the third inning, scoring 11 runs to bring the curtain down early.
"I'm real happy. I like the way the kids are playing," Pittsfield American manager Matt Stracuzzi said. "They've really come together. Out of the 12 players, 11 are back from last year's team. We were a close-knit team.
"Last year, we got to the state semis, so these guys know how to win, they work hard and it pays off."
The majority of Stracuzzi's team was part of the 9-11 District 1 champion last summer, and aged into this year's 10-12 tournament field.
Pittsfield American will wait until Friday to see who it will play for the D-1 title. The final game in pool play, Adams-Cheshire against Pittsfield National, will be played Wednesday. If Adams-Cheshire wins, it will play Pittsfield American on Friday. If National wins, American will play Great Barrington in the District 1 title game.
Pittsfield pitcher Cam Harrington set the tone out of the gate, as Dalton-Hinsdale led off in the top of the first. Tyler Dostie had a one-out single, but Harrington struck out Jayden Strout and Carter Drake to end the inning.
A six-run, six-hit first inning put American ahead for keeps. They had 11 hitters get to bat in the inning. The big play of the inning came when Connor DeVine singled to center, but the ball got by and the error allowed Harrington to score the fifth run of the inning.
"That was nice. I liked that," said Stracuzzi, referring to the six-run first. "We were the home team for the first time in the tournament. It was nice to be a home team and jump on another team right off the bat."
Dalton-Hinsdale got two of those back in the top of the second inning, on three hits and an error. Connor Kirchner plated a run with a ground out and Tim Kaley's RBI single made it 6-2.
"It didn't faze us" to be down 6-0, Dalton-Hinsdale manager Mike Hagmaier said. "We came back. We were happy to get our bats going. We just couldn't make the plays on defense, and they hit the ball really well."
Then, Alfonso set Pittsfield down 1-2-3 in the second, and it appeared as if there was going to be a barn-burner at Myron Gray Field.
Harrington rebounded in the third, retiring Strout on a pop fly to Aiden Carlino at third, striking out Carter Drake and getting Connor Vidal on a grounder back to the mound.
The first nine batters in the Pittsfield American third inning reached base, as American sent 16 to the dish. Jack Abel, who was 2 for 2 with two runs scored and three runs batted in, belted a 2-run double to left center, while Jason Codey had a two-run single.
In fact, it was Codey who ended the game, when his grounder bounced off of third base for an infield single, scoring Mitch Hall with the 17th and final run.
Harrington helped his cause by going 2 for 2 and he scored three runs, two of them coming in the third. Abel, Codey, Harrington and Aiden Alibozek all reached base twice in the 11-run third.
"We've had some big innings. Saturday we had some big innings and today we had some big innings," said Stracuzzi. "I wanted to see — [Anthony] Hill was going to throw next. I wanted an opportunity for him to throw. He hasn't been able to throw yet. But I'm glad Harrington got to throw a little bit more tonight."
Dalton-Hinsdale 020 — 2 4 3
Pittsfield American 60(11) — 17 12 1
Evan Alfonso (2+), Tyler Dostie (0), James Rabuse (1) and Jayden Strout. Cam Harrington and Jack Reed. W — Harrington. L — Alfonso. 2B — PA (Reed, Jack Abel).
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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