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Great Barrington 10-Year-Olds Win County Tourney

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. -- Nathaniel Von Ruden scored from third on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh Saturday to give the Great Barrington 10-year-old Little League All-Stars a 6-5, comeback victory over North Adams in the final of the county tournament.
 
Von Ruden led off the seventh by dropping a single into right field and moved up on a fielder's choice and a single by Mark Bailey that loaded the bases.
 
When the first pitch to Ty Stalker got to the backstop, Von Ruden dashed home to give Great Barrington its first and only lead of the game.
 
He was the sixth different player to score and one of 12 players to reach base in a 14-player Great Barrington lineup.
 
"We've got a very solid team, top to bottom," Great Barrinngton coach Tim Ullrich said. "We carry 14, which sometimes it's a challenge to manage. But lucky for us, they're all solid players."
 
Great Barrington's top-to-bottom depth helped it build a picket fence with one run in each of the first five innings.
 
North Adams jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the top of the first.
 
Troy Tassone singled and scored a run, and Ethan Lucci drove in a run and scored in the rally.
 
After Great Barrington came back to tie it the first time on a Walt Hewing RBI in the bottom of the third, North Adams went back on top when Jesse Brazee singled to lead off the fourth and ended up coming home on Dominic DeMayo's fielder's choice.
 
Again, Great Barrington responded with a run in the bottom of the frame. And North Adams repeated the pattern with a run in the top of the fifth on Logan Crockwell's RBI single to plate Darian Vidal.
 
North Adams ended up loading the bases with nobody out and a 5-4 lead, and cleanup man Ethan Gagne launched a shot deep into center field.
 
But Carter Lotz got on his horse and made a strong leaping grab to force all the runners to scramble back to their bases.
 
"That was a huge play in the game," Ullrich said. "Bases loaded, no outs. He made that play and we didn't give up any runs after that. That was definitely a key play in the game.
 
"Solid defense all the way around. [Starting pitcher] Michael [Ullrich] did a great job on the mound, and then we switched him to shortstop and he made some big plays there. In the seventh, he made all three plays, including going back to get that fly ball behind second base."
 
After Lotz's highlight reel play, reliever Devan Hanavan struck out the next two batters looking to end the threat and keep it a one-run game.
 
Great Barrington tied it in the bottom of the fifth when Hanavan led off with a single and moved up on Christian Blanchard's single up the middle and a wild pitch before scoring on an RBI groundout off the bat of Garrett Curtin.
 
Neither team could get a runner past second base in the sixth, and Hanvan pitched a 1-2-3 top of the seventh -- with help from Ullrich at short -- to set up the drama in the home half of the seventh.
 
Great Barrington, which played just its fourth game as a unit on Saturday, has some time time to practice before the Jimmy Fund tournament in Pittsfield in the middle of the month.
 
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