Abel's Double Keys Taconic Win at Doubleday Field
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- When sophomore Ryan Abel stepped into the batter's box for the third time on Wednesday, the Taconic baseball team was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and trailing Hoosac, 3-0, on the scoreboard.
Abel changed all that with one swing of the bat, drilling a 1-1 fastball into the left-center gap to score Kevin Squires and Dan Carroll and send Taconic on the way to an 11-3 win at Doubleday Field.
"I think we had been looking for that hit to break through," Abel said. "We got a few that inning and broke through to get some runs. That put us in a good position to win the game."
Taconic coach Kevin Stannard said a lot changed with Abel's fifth-inning double.
"Four four and a half innings, we looked like we didn't want to be here," Stannard said. "But that's why baseball is seven innings or nine innings. We were fortunate. Ryan had that huge hit for us.
"That's been a problem for us. We've left a lot of guys on. It was nice that we finally got a hit in a key situation."
Taconic (6-8) needed the win as it makes a push for the Western Mass playoffs.
After suffering a six-game losing streak, Stannard's team has won three of its last four, including back-to-back wins over Wahconah and Hoosac.
"If we had lost both of those, honestly, I don't think we would make the tournament," he said. "Now, we're right back in it."
Hoosac, meanwhile, remains very much in the hunt for a playoff spot despite falling to 7-10 on Wednesday. The Hurricanes face a must-win game on Friday against Lenox; a victory will give Hoosac second place in the Berkshire South Division and a berth in the playoffs in addition to keeping the 'Canes alive for a .500 season, Hoosac coach Bob Rivard said.
"Our game is [Friday], Rivard said. "I couldn't pitch any more people than I did today because I've got to get to Lenox."
Rivard got 4-1/3 from starter Austin Milesi before Abel sparked Taconic's offense. It took the efforts of relievers Eric Sniezek and Nick Murach to get out of the inning. A third reliever, J.P. Levesque, would be needed before the game was over.
Early on, Milesi was doing yeoman's work pitching out of trouble. The Hoosac senior stranded seven men over the first four innings. But eventually, control issues got the better of him; Milesi departed with four walks and two hit batters while surrendering just three hits.
A Hoosac error did not help matters..
A one-out miscue allowed Squires to reach base to start the nine-inning fourth. Eventually, that error made all but two of Taconic's runs in the inning unearned.
Drew DeMartino and Squires singled, and Dan Carroll hit a two-run double in the rally.
Taconic tacked on three in the sixth thanks to hits by Izaiya Mestre, Josh Berthiaume and Abdiel Cotto.
Squires handled the bulk of the load on the mound. He scattered seven hits and allowed just one earned run over six innings before DeMartino came in from second base to finish up.
Taconic has an independent game against Sci-Tech on Friday before returning to league action Saturday against Lenox.
On Wednesday, Abel and his teammaes headed back to Pittsfield with a needed win and a lesson in history.
"It was great," he said. "We got to check out the Hall of Fame as a team and then come play at Doubleday Field. It was an amazing experience.
"I had been [to the Hall] once when I was younger, but I wasn't really into the history. Going there, now, you start to understand it, and it's really awesome."