Pittsfield National 8-10s win District 1 Little League title over Pittsfield American

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PITTSFIELD — Mike Bondini and Caysen Blasioli shared the No. 7 slot in Pittsfield National's batting order during Saturday's championship game.

After all, there were plenty of at bats to go around in a 10-3 National victory over rival Pittsfield American.

"We've drilled into them from day one, it's all about teamwork and everybody giving 100 percent regardless of how many innings or at bats you get," said National coach Mark Socie, after his team claimed the 8-10-year-old District 1 title. "We started the game with '1-2-3 team'."

American held a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the third inning, but the top of National's order was coming up for its second at bats.

Cade Demary walked to lead off, and Evan Roccabruna and Connor Paronto followed with singles. Paronto's drive to center scored Demary, before Jason Fields' sacrifice fly tied the game at 3-3.

Bondini didn't get his second at bat in the third inning, though. Blasioli had come on to play defense in the top of the frame, and squared his body up against American starter Jack Bellefontaine with runners on the corners and two outs.

Blasioli got a hold on one, and sent it scorching back up the middle, plating Paronto with the go-ahead — and ultimately game-winning — run.

"Everybody matters," said Socie. "Hopefully we can continue to grow. We try to move them in and out so everybody gets the opportunity, because this is a fun experience."

Bondini's day wasn't through, though. He re-entered and took his second at bat with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. With National in front 5-3 and Fields on base, the third baseman put a charge into one and landed it just inside the right-field line. Bondini took off, chasing Fields to second, then third, then all the way into a crowd of teammates at home plate. The inside-the-park home run broke things open and gave National's pitching staff some breathing room. It wound up a six-run fifth that put the home team up by seven.

Roccabruna had come on in relief to start the fifth, after Paronto got National through four full innings. It was an uneven, yet surviving performance from the starter, who struck out eight, but walked three and hit another five batters. In the third inning, after American had taken a 3-1 lead in the second, Paronto walked the bases loaded with no outs. Socie and the coaching staff stuck with him, though, and he responded with three-straight strikeouts.

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"Honestly, when they're in that situation it's more about calming them down," said Socie, who talked to his pitcher about ice cream during a mound visit. "Getting them unfocused from what is happening on the field. He got us out of it, and thankfully we get to move forward."

Roccabruna struck out three in two scoreless innings of relief. American's Demary reached on an error in the fifth, but Fields caught him stealing third. DeAndre Phillips walked to lead off the sixth, but was stranded on third when Roccabruna struck out two and handled a grounder himself to end the game.

American managed just one hit — a bunt single by Sam Glockner in the third — against National's two arms. Brendan Merwin and Dakota Moore were hit by pitches to start the second, before Glockner's single. All three scored; two on wild pitches and Glockner on an RBI fielder's choice by Jake Williams.

Bellefontaine struck out two in his 4 and 2/3 innings of work. He was tagged with nine hits and six earned runs. Williams and Aiden Arseneau each reached base twice for American.

National got a 3 for 4 day from Roccabruna, who had an RBI single in the fifth. He, Paronto and Cade Demary all scored twice. Paronto had two hits, while Quinn Schaller singled and scored in the fifth.

Pittsfield National advances to the sectional tournament, which will open on July 13 at Clapp Park.

———

American     030     000     —     3     1     2

National     103     06x     —     10     11     1

Bellefontaine (4 2/3), Demary (1/3) and Williams. Paronto (4), Roccabruna (2) and Fields. W — Paronto. L — Bellefontaine. HR — N (Bondini).

Mike Walsh can be reached at mwalsh@berkshireeagle.com, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.

National     103     06x     —     10     11     1

Bellefontaine (4 2/3), Demary (1/3) and Williams. Paronto (4), Roccabruna (2) and Fields. W — Paronto. L — Bellefontaine. HR — N (Bondini).

Mike Walsh can be reached at mwalsh@berkshireeagle.com, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.

Bellefontaine (4 2/3), Demary (1/3) and Williams. Paronto (4), Roccabruna (2) and Fields. W — Paronto. L — Bellefontaine. HR — N (Bondini).

Mike Walsh can be reached at mwalsh@berkshireeagle.com, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.


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