Pittsfield National ends District 1 run with win over Adams-Cheshire
PITTSFIELD — You need to play to win the game — unless you're the Great Barrington 10-12s Little League team.
With Pittsfield National's 16-6 win over Adams-Cheshire, the Great Barrington squad will be playing against Pittsfield American in the District 1 10-12s championship on Friday.
The Pittsfield Nationals entered Clapp Park on Wednesday with nothing to lose after being mathematically eliminated from championship consideration. In the other dugout, Adams-Cheshire had everything to gain as a win would secure a spot in the championship game.
"We had a couple tough games early in the tournament where they came out tight," Pittsfield National coach Kevin O'Donnell said. "They came out loose, had fun and swung the bats a lot better than we have. It is a good life lesson for these guys to bounce back."
Pittsfield took the field calm, cool, and collected, led by pitcher Chase Wendling, who pitched all four innings in the 10-run, rule-shortened game.
"I wanted to leave Little League on a good note," Wendling said. "I felt loose and I think so did the team."
Adams-Cheshire took the lead in the top of the first inning as shortstop Will Hakes singled and eventually scored on a passed ball. The run didn't rattle Wendling, though, as he struck out three-straight to end the frame.
The Pittsfield pitcher was throwing heat all afternoon and even had a trick or two up his sleeve, finishing the day with nine strikeouts in just four innings.
"He pounds the strike zone with pinpoint control," O'Donnell said. "He has a great curve ball that kept them off balance, which kept us in the game."
In the bottom of the first inning, it was Wendling crossing the plate to tie the game at one on an RBI double from Jude Barzousky. Gavin O'Donnell followed with a two-run single before Christian Aldrich launched a two-run home run to left field, giving Pittsfield a 6-1 lead.
"When we saw things not work it was their body language; you would see the shoulders slump or not fully running back to the dugout after a strikeout or a miscue," coach O'Donnell said. "I've been telling them that whenever they step off the field that this is your last little league game so it is important to enjoy it and I think they had fun."
Adams-Cheshire got a run back in the top of the second, however, Pittsfield topped their six-run first inning with a nine-run second inning. Wendling led the charge with a single, double and RBI in the frame while Kyle McGrath added an RBI double to help break the game wide open.
Matt Witek plated Noah White and Jack Dolan in the top of the third with a two-run single. Dolan added an RBI double in the fourth and would later score on a passed ball, but that would be all Adams-Cheshire could produce offensively against Wendling.
Pittsfield started the bottom of the fourth inning with a single from Matt Burega. Two batters later, a single off the bat of Ethan O'Donnell plated the catcher and ended the game.
While Great Barrington and Pittsfield National each had two wins in pool play, Great Barrington won the head-to-head match up to secure the spot on the championship game.
Wendling entered the game knowing it would be his final timing suiting up as a Little Leaguer, but he listened to his coaches advice and had fun with his team.
"Our energy was high and it was amazing," Wendling said. "I am going to miss these guys and hopefully play with, or against them, in Babe Ruth."
The battle for the District 1 championship between the undefeated Pittsfield Americans and Great Barrington will take place on Friday at Clapp Park with first pitch scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Adams 112 2 — 6 5 4
Pittsfield 690 1 — 16 12 3
Nate Kondel (1 1/3), Matt Witek (2+), Cole Stentiford (1+) and Witek (1 1/3), Jack Dolan (3). Chase Wendling (4) and Matt Burega. W — Wendling. L — Kondel. 2B — A 1 (Dolan), P 4 (Ethan O'Donnell, Jude Barzousky, Kyle McGrath, Wendling). HR — P 1 (Christian Aldrich).
Jake Mendel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
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