Pittsfield baseball silences Wahconah, 8-0
DALTON — After two games against non-league foes, Pittsfield began play in the Berkshire North on Wednesday afternoon.
For the Generals, it was an opportunity to continue the solid play they had begun against Valley teams. Shortstop Joe Traversa was 3 for 3 with three runs batted in while Carter Matthews and two relievers combined to pitch a four-hit shutout, as visiting PHS beat Wahconah 8-0, handing the Warriors their first loss in four games.
Christian Marchbanks, the second of three PHS pitchers, threw 2 1/3 innings and got credit for the victory.
"We know that when we're playing like this, it's going to be tough to beat us," Traversa said. "We've got a really good defense, and we've been hitting the ball well."
Pittsfield staked Matthews to a four-run lead in the second inning, and that turned out to be more than enough for the senior left-hander.
He was not, however, on the mound long enough to get the win. Making his first start of 2019, Matthews had a three-inning, 44-pitch outing. He gave up two hits and a walk in his three frames.
"He's had a little bit of an arm" issue, Pittsfield coach Seamus Morrison said, quickly adding that Matthews was going to be on a 50-pitch count. Matthews reached that mark when he got Zak Bernardo to fly to center field to end the third inning.
"It feels great knowing that our pitchers are throwing the ball and they know that when [Wahconah] hits the ball, the defense is going to make plays," said Traversa, the PHS shortstop, who helped turn a first-inning double play.
Jake Gai led off the home first with a solid single to left field. But the next hitter, Bernardo, grounded into a 4-6-4 double play. Second baseman Ian Benoit fielded the ball, flipped the ball to Traversa, whose throw to first beat Bernardo by a couple of steps.
Pittsfield had threatened in the first inning, but Wahconah's Caden Frazier pitched out of a jam. He was not as fortunate in the second inning.
Jon Halse and Ryan LaPierre led off the inning with consecutive singles. Zack Zerbato sacrificed the runners up, and Halse scored on an error by Wahconah shortstop Gabe Verdi off the bat of Dan DiMassimo.
Frazier walked Matthews on four pitches, bringing up Traversa. The senior infielder hit a hot smash to second, the ball deflecting off Bernardo's glove into right field. The single plated LaPierre and DiMassimo. Benoit followed with a sacrifice fly, and it was 4-0, Pittsfield.
"It felt good" to get three hits, said Traversa. "I've been hitting the ball well, but right at people. I've walked a few times and been hit by pitches.
"It just felt good to put the ball in play."
Marchbanks struggled in his 2 1/3 innings of work. While the right-hander did not give up a run and only surrendered one hit, he did walk six. Marchbanks pitched out of jams in the fourth and fifth, and then walked the bases loaded with one out in the sixth. That forced Morrison to make a change.
DiMassimo struck out Gabe Davis and got Verdi on a fly ball to center to end the inning. DiMassimo get runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh, but Chad Howes popped to Benoit to end the game.
Halse and LaPierre also had two hits each for Pittsfield. Benoit was 1 for 2, but drove in a pair of runs.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for Wahconah wasn't as much the fact that the Warriors lost on Wednesday, is that they they were also 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, after stranding 11 in the game.
Pittsfield 040 211 0 — 8 9 0
Wahconah 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
Carter Matthews (3), Christian Marchbanks (2 1/3), Dan DiMassimo (1 1/3) and Zack Zerbato. Caden Frazier (3 1/3), Gabe Verdi (3 2/3) and Joe Woronick. W — Marchbanks. L — Frazier. 2B — P (Joe Traversa 2, Ryan LaPierre).
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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