Wahconah baseball edges Monument Mountain to claim tournament crown

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DALTON — From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. there was nonstop action at Wahconah Regional High School on Saturday. The Warriors have hosted a tournament near the start of each baseball season for over 20 years. Joining the Warriors was Hoosac Valley, Monument Mountain and Monson. The day started with Monument picking up a 10-1 victory over Monson in its first game of the year. The Warriors followed with a 5-3 win over the Hurricanes.

The Spartans had a chance to take the trophy from a Wahconah team that won the 2018 tournament, however, a four-run seventh inning by the Warriors (who were the visiting team after losing a coin flip) proved to be the deciding factor. Wahconah repeated as tournament champions with a 7-5 win over Monument.

"It worked out great for us," first-year Wahconah coach Ernie Wellington said. "I have a lot of kids and wanted to get everyone a lot of playing time. We grinded it out and we finished it out with two wins."

After defeating the Hurricanes, the Warriors had only 20 minutes to prepare for the Spartans, but Caden Frazier, who recorded the save for Wahconah, was confident in his team's ability to bounce back.

"It isn't hard to play back to back because you remain pretty loose," Frazier said. "You just keep going and with this team that is pretty easy to do. We just have to keep rolling and keep playing like we are."

The Spartans did not get a hit in the first, however, they manufactured a run on a Max Joyner ground out that allowed Kade Gruber to score, giving Monument a 1-0 lead at the end of one.

A double off Bob Archambault's bat in the second inning was the first hit of the game for either side. Aidan Borowski followed it up with a double of his own, allowing Archambault to score, putting Wahconah on the board and tying the game at one.

While each team was competing in its second game of the day, Wahconah's Chad Howes and Monument's Jackson Smith showed no signs of fatigue on the mound.

"I was really happy with Jackson's effort in his first varsity start," Monument coach Tom Hankey said. "It was an eye opener to see how the younger kids came in and had an impact. We had three freshmen and some inexperienced players who came in and stepped up today."

The Sophomore went 4 1/3 for the Spartans and gave up just two runs. On the other hand, Howes went six innings for the Warriors giving up three runs on six hits.

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"It's awesome coming out and pitching a tough game like that because we [won the tournament] two years in a row," Howes said. We were a little nervous coming in but we were ready to compete."

The flood gates opened in the seventh inning as both teams combined to score six runs — just as many as the two championship contenders combined to score through the previous six innings. With the help of six walks, the Warriors put up a four-spot in the top of the inning. Borowski and Rob Genaway each brought in runs with sacrifice flies and led the way for the Warriors with two runs batted in a piece.

"We competed and didn't give up," Hankey said. "Wahconah is a good team, no doubt about it, but I was overall pleased with the effort out there. We just didn't throw enough strikes. I saw a lot of good things for us but we have a lot of work to do too."

Monument had four of its first five reach base in the bottom half of the inning, but Frazier settled in and put a stop to the comeback at 7-5 and secured back-to-back tournament championships for the team from Dalton.

"This is a tough tough group of kids that grind," Wellington said. "We have some work to do, like getting the bats going, but that's okay as long as we get the win. It feels great to start the season 3-0."

Both teams will have Sunday to rest before getting back to the action on Monday. The Spartans host Taconic, while the Warriors will look to continue their undefeated run to start the season with a home game against Hoosac Valley. First pitch for both games is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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Wahconah     010     200     4     —     7     5     1

Monument Mountain     101     010     2     —     5     7     0

Chad Howes (6), Caiden Frazier (1) and Joe Woronick. Jackson Smith (4+), Kyle Gochey, Max Joyner (2+), Shawn Dupont (1) and Joyner. WP — Howes. LP — Dupont. 2B — W: 2 (Archambault, Borowski) MM: 1 (Gochey).

Jake Mendel can be reached at Jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, @Jmendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.

Monument Mountain     101     010     2     —     5     7     0

Chad Howes (6), Caiden Frazier (1) and Joe Woronick. Jackson Smith (4+), Kyle Gochey, Max Joyner (2+), Shawn Dupont (1) and Joyner. WP — Howes. LP — Dupont. 2B — W: 2 (Archambault, Borowski) MM: 1 (Gochey).

Jake Mendel can be reached at Jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, @Jmendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.

Chad Howes (6), Caiden Frazier (1) and Joe Woronick. Jackson Smith (4+), Kyle Gochey, Max Joyner (2+), Shawn Dupont (1) and Joyner. WP — Howes. LP — Dupont. 2B — W: 2 (Archambault, Borowski) MM: 1 (Gochey).

Jake Mendel can be reached at Jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, @Jmendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.


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