PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Great Barrington and Dalton-Hinsdale Little League All-Stars both showed resilience in Wednesday’s district tournament elimination game.
Dalton-Hinsdale just had a few more runs to show for its efforts at the end of the night.
Pat McLaughlin hit a grand slam, and Braedyn Melle threw 3-⅓ innings of relief as Dalton-Hinsdale earned a 12-9 win and a berth in Thursday’s championship round of the Don Gleason District 1 10- to 12-year-old Championships.
Dalton at 5:30 Thursday will get its second shot at the host Pittsfield American League All-Stars, who earned an 11-1 win over Dalton on Tuesday in the double-elimination tournament.
On Wednesday, Dalton jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Charlie Wendell, Ryan Adams and Beau Walton each singled, and their teammates collected three walks and a hit-by-pitch before McLaughlin homered over the center field fence with two out and three on to make it 10-0.
Meanwhile, Wendell allowed just one baserunner in the first two innings, and it looked like Dalton was on the way to a possible mercy rule win.
Instead, Great Barrington dug deep and got back into the game.
Collin Parker led off the top of the third with a triple and scored on an overthrow to get his team its first run.
Great Barrington then cashed in on three straight errors and worked a couple of walks to get within six runs.
In the bottom of the third, Ryan Marauszwski reached on a fielder’s choice, moved up on a McLaughlin single and scored on an error to make it 11-4.
But Parker ignited another rally in the fourth with a leadoff single. Matt Lowe, Garrett Curtin and Kyle Wellenkamp added singles as Great Barrington added five runs to get within a pair.
This time, it was Dalton’s turn to dig deep.
Melle snagged a line drive up the middle to end the rally with a man on third, and Dalton played error-free defense over the last two innings to make sure Great Barrington got no closer.
In the top of the sixth, Matt Kinzer drove in a run with a groundout. And in the bottom of the inning, Great Barrington got the tying run to the plate with two out before Melle got the third out to ground out to the left side.
“I think they rely on each other,” Dalton-Hinsdale coach Ben Melle said of his team’s ability to respond to Great Barrington’s rally. “We’ve got to pick them up and have them stay upbeat and keep rooting and yelling for our team. Once we sit down and drag our heads, the game is over.
“We have some good leaders on the team, so that’s helpful.”
Melle said that his team is up for the challenge of needing to beat the Pittsfield AL on Thursday to earn a shot at a winner-take-all final on Friday.
“Tomorrow night is going to be a team effort,” he said. “We don’t have a star pitcher that we’re going to throw out there. It’s going to be a defensive game, and we have to get the bats together.
“We can’t wait to play them again, that’s for sure. [Pittsfield AL coach Joe Skutnik] and the crew, they have an absolutely fabulous team. But I think we have a shot at this for sure. Defensively, we are there. Our bats are there, too, as we showed in the 10-run inning. I think we’ll be after them, yeah.”