Hoosac Valley Rallies to Clinch Share of South Title

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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CHESHIRE, Mass. -- Chris Larabee picked a big moment to break out of a little slump.
The Hoosac Valley senior delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning to score John Krol and J.P. Levesque and send the Hurricanes on to a 5-3 win over Mount Greylock on Sunday afternoon.
The win gives the ‘Canes a share of the Berkshire County South Division title along with the Mounties and sends Hoosac Valley (13-6) into this week’s Western Massachusetts tournament riding a seven-game winning streak.
“That was a big hit,” Hoosac Valley coach Mike Larabee said. “ ‘Fuzz’ got a big hit there. That was huge. He’s been struggling a little bit, and that was a big hit. That carries a kid. … To get that hit was huge for him.”
And a huge hit for the Hoosac Valley baseball program.
“Seven years,” Larabee said. “It’s been seven years [without a South title]. That means a lot because you set a goal, and just to achieve it is a big deal.
“I was telling the kids earlier: This hasn’t been easy for us. This has been a grind all year long, and they should be proud of themselves.”
Noah Matrigali pitched around seven walks, including two in the top of the seventh, to earn the complete game win on the hill.
Offensively, Hoosac Valley got two hits apiece from Chris Larabee and Levesque in a seven-hit attack.
Matrigali’s double started a two-run first that was helped by two Mount Greylock errors on a ground ball by Krol that left him at second and scored Matrigali. Jack Sniezek singled to left to drive in Krol, making it 2-0.
The Mounties tied it in the top of the third thanks to RBI singles by Brandon Condon and Cal Messina.
And in the fifth, Zach Condon walked, stole second, moved up on Nick Rondeau’s sac bunt and scored on a single up the middle by Brandon Condon to give the Mounties (14-5) a 3-2 lead.
That is where it stood going into the bottom of the sixth.
Matrigali worked a leadoff walk and stole second ahead of an RBI single by Krol to tie the game, 3-3.
Matrigali went to second on the throw and third on a single by Levesque, who ended up on second base when the Mounties threw home to keep Matrigali from scoring.
At that point, Mount Greylock starter Cole Wojtkowski (two strikeouts, three earned runs) left the hill, and Brandon Condon came in from center field. After an intentional free pass sent Jack Sniezek to first to load the bases, Larabee singled down the first base line to drive in the winning run.
Mount Greylock battled in the top of the seventh.
A looping line drive off the bat of Wojtkowski to start the inning required a diving stab by Keagan McGrath in center field to get the first out.
Zach Condon and Tyler Marten then worked walks around a flyball out to put the tying run on base before Matrigali got the third out on a flyball to McGrath.
Matrigali lowered his earned run average to 1.49 this season with 55 strikeouts in 47-⅓ innings of work.
“He’s just a bulldog out there,” Mike Larabee said. “You give him the ball, and you just ride him. He’s a competitor. His [3-4] record doesn’t show what he’s done for us. … He’s just a dynamite pitcher.”
Hoosac Valley goes to Monson on Monday to finish the regular season. Both the Mounties and Hurricanes will learn their first round opponents in the upcoming Western Massachusetts tournament when the seedings are announced on Tuesday.
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