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Pittsfield Walks Off with State Semi-Final Win

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print
08:50PM / Tuesday, June 11, 2024


WORCESTER, Mass. – With runners at the corners and nobody out in a scoreless game in the bottom of the seventh, East Bridgewater opted to give Pittsfield an intentional walk to set up a force play at every base.
 
It may have been the right move.
 
But for the Generals, Jackson Almeida was the right man to bring to the plate.
 
Pittsfield’s catcher got his second hit of the day, a drive to left-center field, to end the game and give the Generals a 1-0 win and a berth in Saturday’s Division 4 State Championship game at Polar Park.
 
“I kind of got up there, thought to myself, ‘I’m gonna get a hit,’ and he threw a pitch right there, and I hit it good,” Almeida said as his teammates celebrated around him on Fitton Field at Holy Cross.
 
“I was just trying to hit it hard on the ground. I just knew I had to hit the ball. I hit it hard, and it worked out well.”
 
Well enough for Pittsfield to go to its first state title game in two decades. On Saturday at noon, the sixth-seeded Generals (20-5) will face No. 4 Seekonk (21-3), a 1-0 winner over Salem in its Tuesday semi-final.
 
Pittsfield senior Roshan Warriar earned the win on the mound on Tuesday, upping his record to 7-0 this season with a complete-game shutout.
 
Almeida’s hit was just the sixth of the afternoon – and the second of the inning – for Pittsfield against East Bridgewater starter Devon Blair, who struck out six in a complete-game effort.
 
The game-winning rally started when Pittsfield junior Jack Abel led off by crushing a 1-1 pitch to left-center and racing all the way to third base, sliding in just ahead of the tag to give the Generals a sterling scoring opportunity.
 
“Knowing that the state championship game was on the line, we had to be aggressive in that seventh inning,” Abel said. “Put the ball in play, and something will happen.”
 
Jack Reed then reached on a ground ball to second against a draw-in infield to put runners at second and third.
 
The 10th-seeded Vikings (17-7) elected to put Jason Codey on first base, loading the bases for Almeida’s walkoff hit.
 
Warriar pitched around four East Bridgewater hits and one Pittsfield error but walked just one while striking out four.
 
The Vikings’ best scoring chances came in the first and fourth innings.
 
In the top of the first, East Bridgewater used an infield single and an infield error to put runners at first and second with two out. But Warriar got the Vikes’ No. 5 hitter to wave at a third strike to end the threat.
 
In the fourth, the leadoff hitter worked a walk for East Bridgewater, and the next man laid down a sacrifice bunt to get him into scoring position. A pitch that got to the backstop put him on third base with one out.
 
But Warriar got a shallow fly ball to Ben Jacob in center and a ground ball to Abel at second to end the inning.
 
East Bridgewater never got a runner past first base the rest of the game.
 
Meanwhile, the Generals turned an inning-ending double play in the fifth as third baseman Codey snared a line drive and threw to Reed at first to double off a runner.
 
The next five outs came on fly balls with nobody on base. After an infield single with two out in the top of the seventh, Warriar induced a slow roller to Reed at first for the unassisted putout.
 
“Roshan will keep you on your toes, defensively,” Pittsfield coach Drew Pearce said. “He will keep them swinging the bat because, if you don’t, you’re going to be in a negative count really quick. He is a gutsy player. He is a tough kid. And all he does is pitch and win.”
 
And on Tuesday, Warriar had multiple pitches to rely on.
 
“Everything was working, pretty much,” Warriar said. “Spinners, sliders. My catcher was calling the game for me back there. So pretty much whatever he went with, I trust him 100 percent and threw it.”
 
Pittsfield’s offense got runners into scoring position in three different innings before it was able to cash in.
 
In the first, a line drive to second with runners at first and second and nobody out led to a double play. And after the Generals got runners back on first and second with two out, Vikings catcher Joey Foley fired to first to catch a Pittsfield runner straying too far off the bag.
 
In the third, a two-base error and a passed ball allowed Codey to get to third, but Blair closed the door with a strikeout and a fly ball to right to end the inning.
 
In the fifth, Almeida singled with two out and went to third when Jacob reached on an error, but a groundout to third got East Bridgewater back in the dugout.
 
Pittsfield, which scored 22 runs in its previous two state tournament games, was held to its lowest run production since a 3-0 loss to Westfield more than a month ago on May 7.
 
“We actually had trouble making adjustments [on Blair], but it wasn’t that we needed to make adjustments up and down the lineup,” Pearce said. “We hit the ball hard. More than anything, it was some bad base running and a little bit of luck with the double play and the line drive double play and the pickoff behind.
 
“But, all in all, when we have Roshan on the mound and leading us, we’re ready for a fight and ready to battle the entire game.”
 

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