Blake Pitches Taconic into Western Mass Final
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Evan Blake struck out 11 in six innings of work on the mound and drove in the only run he needed in Tacaonic’s 5-0 win over Wahconah on Thursday in the semi-finals of the Western Massachusetts Class B tournament.
The top-seeded Thunder (17-2) earned a berth in Tuesday’s regional final against Monument Mountain, a winner over Hampshire Regional on Thursday.
Wahconah (14-6) came into Thursday’s game on a 10-game winning streak and looked ready to draw first blood in the first inning.
Matt Kinzer ripped a one-out single up the middle and went to third when James Rabuse followed with a single to right.
After Blake got the next batter swinging, Ryan Marauszwski worked a walk to load the bases with two out.
But Blake retired the side with his second strikeout of the inning.
He then sat down the next 10 batters he faced before Wahconah’s Luke Ferguson reached on a one-out error in top of the fifth.
By then, Taconic had a 4-0 lead.
The offense got started right away with Matt Lee’s leadoff single in the first.
He moved up on a pitch that got to the backstop and scored on Blake’s single down the third base line to make it 1-0.
Taconic then added to its lead in the third inning, scoring three runs without the benefit of a base hit. Two Wahconah errors and four walks fueled the rally, the last run coming home when Antonio Scalise worked a bases-loaded walk.
That third ended up being the biggest hiccup for Wahconah starter Charlie Wendell, who struck out eight and allowed two earned runs in five innings of work.
The fifth Taconic run came in the fifth inning, when Eddie Ferris hit a one-out double and eventually came home on an errant throw to first on Scalise’ infield single.
Blake got into a little jam in the top of the sixth, when a Taconic error helped put a runner on third base with nobody out. But catcher Scalise retired that runner in a rundown after he threw down to third.
Damon Pause came on to strike out the side in order for Taconic in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Tuesday’s Western Mass final at Westfield State will be a rematch of Taconic’s meeting with the Spartans in Great Barrington back on May 6, a game the Thunder won, 2-0.
Wahconah learns on Wednesday who it will face in the first round of the state tournament.