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Codey Pitches Pittsfield Americans to Little League Tourney Win

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Pittsfield Little Leaguer Jason Codey turned in a big-time performance on Friday night.
 
After allowing four runs on four hits in the bottom of the first inning, Codey was lights out in pitching the Pittsfield American League All-Stars to a 12-4 win over the rival Pittsfield Nationals in the Don Gleason District 1 9- to 11-year-old Championships at Deming Park.
 
Codey scattered just four more hits while striking out three over the next 4-⅔ innings in pitching the Americans into Sunday’s championship round of the double-elimination tournament.
 
The Nats on Saturday will play Great Barrington in an elimination game to see who gets to face the Americans for the title.
 
“I said to him in the dugout, ‘I’ve had 12-year-olds on my house league team and 12-year-old all-stars prior to this who have given up runs like that, and they folded,’ “ Pittsfield Americans manager Matt Stracuzzi said. “For a 10-year-old kid to battle back and stay within himself … that says a lot for a little 10-year-old.
 
“He’s tough. He got us to that championship game, and now it’s our job to win that one more.”
 
Codey also helped his cause with a two-run double in an 11-hit attack for the Americans.
 
Simon Mele went 2-for-4 with a double, and Aiden Carlino was 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly.
 
Mele’s RBI double helped the Americans take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
 
The National Leaguers responded with their four-run ouburst.
 
Gavin O’Donnell led off with an RBI single, and Quentin Christopher drew a walk. After a flyball out, Ethan O’Donnell hit an RBI single up the middle, and Kyle McGrath and Chase Wendling each followed with an RBI single of his own. Chase Cook’s groundout to the right side allowed McGrath to come home with the final run of the inning.
 
The American struck back with two in the second to tie the game thanks to RBIs by Dave Wilgoose and Jack Abel.
 
Abel reached base all four times, stole a pair of bases and scored twice.
 
“The top of the order, with Jack Abel, he’s a leadoff hitter,” Stracuzzi said. “That kid puts the bat on the ball. He’s got speed. When he clicks and our top three kids are hitting, everybody else just follows suit.”
 
The Americans took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth.
 
Pinch-hitter Connor Devine got things started with a two-out, infield single. Then an error put two men on for Codey, who crushed a double to left-center to score both runners.
 
While Codey and the offense did their job at the plate, his defense also was helping to keep hold the Nationals at bay. The American League All-Stars committed no errors and helped Codey and reliever Mele strand six runners.
 
“Myself and the whole [coaching] staff preach defense,” Stracuzzi said. “Pitching and defense wins games. For their age group, they did a great job. 10, 11-year-olds? You can’t ask for anything better than that.”
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