Pittsfield Post 68 overcomes absences, injuries to top Easthampton
PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield Post 68 came into Wednesday's game against the Easthampton Post 224 missing key contributors due to injury, illness and summer vacation. The undermanned team had to shuffle its lineup, placing a catcher and pitcher in the outfield, with rarely used hurlers taking the mound.
Add in the five-game-in-six-day schedule, and Post 68 had anything but the recipe for successfully ending their two-game losing streak.
Despite their short-handed status, Post 68's offense sparked the squad scoring eight times in the first inning for a 10-6 win.
Post 68 needed every inning they could get out of their pitchers, because they had no other arms available to take the mound.
Starter Cal Messina gutted out four innings, and reliever Hunter Potash shut the door with three innings.
Potash stranded two runners in scoring position in the fifth, forced a fly out to leave the bases loaded in the sixth and left two runners in scoring position to end the game.
"I just ask them to throw strikes, put it in play and make plays. That's all we've got to do,"catcher Joe Woronick said of the pitcher's performances.
One of the team's go-to pitchers in Jake Flynn got the start in center field. Flynn made four putouts, including a sliding grab to end the second inning. The former Taconic Brave made spot appearances in the outfield throughout his career, but he hadn't made a start in center since Little League.
He said everyone on the team is willing to do whatever it takes to win, and he pointed to the team's four-run, seventh-inning comeback win over Aldenville to highlight the never-say-die attitude among them.
"We're short-handed so we all had to pick each other up," he said. "We fight. No matter what happens, we're always going. ... We don't give up."
Easthampton struck first with two runs in the first inning. Messina, a standout running back for Mount Greylock, started the rebuttal with a bunt single in the bottom half of the inning. Messina showed his speed on the basepaths by stealing third and coming home on an error. Joe Woronick followed with a single and two runners scored on wild pitches. After back-to-back walks, Noah Hunter drove in one with a RBI double. J.P. Levesque, Ian Benoit and Woronick added RBI hits, putting Pittsfield up 8-2.
Messina went 2 for 5 with three stolen bases. Woronick went 2 for 2 with two RBI. Flynn went 2 for 4.
The win moves Post 68 to 13-3, keeping it atop its division. A win against Wilbraham Red Friday clinches first place in the playoffs.
"They showed a lot of guts tonight and a lot of chemistry," head coach Pat Bassi said. "Our team has good chemistry. I told everybody before the game, everybody's got to do their job. ... We were lucky to get eight big runs in the first inning. They relaxed a little bit, made me a little nervous, but [Potash] came in and did a good job of closing the door on them."
Easthampton 202 011 0 — 6 11 3
Pittsfield 800 020 x — 10 10 1
Cody Cavanaugh (2/3), Mike Baldwin (3 1/3), Connor Cavanaugh (2) and Bennett Kelly. Cal Messina (4+), Hunter Potash (3) and Joe Woronick. WP — Messina. LP — C. Cavanaugh. 2B — E (C. Cavanaugh). P — (Noah Hunter, Jake Flynn). HR — E (C. Cavanaugh).
Akeem Glaspie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @TheAkeemGlaspie on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
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