PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Pittsfield American League 12-year-old All-Stars pounded out 14 hits in just three innings to win Thursday’s Don Gleason District 1 title game.
But that was only half the story.
And, to hear the team’s coach tell it, it wasn’t the biggest reason the Americans are headed to next week’s sectional tournament in Amherst.
“You’re not going to win this tournament unless you have pitching,” Skutnik said. “Last year’s group, the 11-year-old group, had some pitching. Then you take the 11s that were up with the 12s last year and combine it together, and I really thought we had a nice group that would do OK.
“You need pitching to win this tournament.”
On Thursday night, Owen Salvatore delivered all the pitching his needed an 11-0 win over Dalton-Hinsdale that ended after 3-½ innings.
The southpaw allowed just one hit and struck out five, including the final out of the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth.
Offensively, the Americans did all their damage in the third inning.
Dalton-Hinsdale starting pitcher Ryan Adams pitched around five hits to keep Pittsfield off the board in the first and second.
Adams helped himself by fielding all three outs in the second. First, he snagged a bunt with runners at the corners, faked a throw to first and then turned and got the runner trying to get back to third.
Then, with the bases loaded and one out, Adams snagged a line drive up the middle and threw to third to double off the runner and retire the side.
“We hit the ball,” Skutnik. “We hit a couple where they made good plays. That’s going to happen. We tried to be aggressive on the bases, and sometimes that can cost you.
“But they stuck it out. I was waiting to see what happened the second time around.”
The Americans had the top of the order up to start the third, and Nick Brindle got things started with a single up the middle.
He and all eight of his teammates in the lineup reached and scored as the Americans went on to score nine runs before they made their first out.
Antonio Scalise and Salvatore each delivered a two-run single, and Scalise added an RBI double. Brindle and Ben Jacob each scored twice, the latter coming home on Cam Sime’s infield single to make it 11-0.
Skutnik said this year’s edition of the Pittsfield American Leaguers has the same makeup as the program’s past highly successful squads. But he also is realistic.
“You never know,” he said. “When you get into this next round, the competition ramps up considerably more than is here.”
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