Hoosac Valley Tops Monson to Secure Western Mass Berth

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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CHESHIRE, Mass. -- After a one-year hiatus, the Hoosac Valley baseball team is going back to the Western Massachusetts tournament.
The Hurricanes overcame a rough start Saturday to beat Monson, 8-4, in the long-delayed consolation game of the Wahconah Tournament for Hoosac’s 10th win of the season with five games left to play.
Henry Sniezek and Devin Kogut combined to strand 13 baserunners, and Cole Desroches went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs as Hoosac Valley (10-5) won its fifth straight and won for the eighth time in nine games.
“It’s big for us,” Hoosac Valley coach Trevor Swistak said of the postseason berth. “It’s huge for these kids. They battled.
“We didn’t win a lot of games last year. We were young. For us to get back is good. Now, we still gotta keep improving.”
When Kogut got the final out of the game swinging with a man on first base, the celebration began for the Hurricanes, who -- after some chasing -- eventually managed to get a little ice water on their coach.
Early on, it looked like the visiting Mustangs would be the one splashing cold water on the home team.
Monson scored a pair of runs by taking advantage of four walks in the top of the first.
Hoosac Valley answered right away with an RBI single from Zach Swistak and a two-run double from Desroches in the bottom of the frame to take a 3-2 lead.
But Monson struck back with three hits and a run in the second to tie it, 3-3.
“[Sniezek] was off,” Trevor Swistak said. “He was flat when we started, and he kind of came alive. But he battled through it. He put five good innings together for us, but the first two innings were tough. He has to focus.”
Sniezek settled down and kept Monson off the board the next three innings, including a fourth inning when he got a called third strike to leave the bases loaded.
Meanwhile, his offense regained the lead.
In the fourth, Sniezek drew a leadoff walk and went all the way to third on a sac bunt by Luc Trombley. Then John Krol singled up the middle to score Sniezek with the go-ahead run.
In the fifth, the Hurricanes extended their lead to 5-3 when Desroches led off with a hit, moved up on a bunt by Kogut and a single by Joe Degere and scored on Sniezek’s sacrifice fly.
The insurance run came in handy in the top of the sixth.
The first three men to the plate reached base against Kogut, who started the inning in relief of Sniezek.
Kogut then K’d the next two men before giving up a single to left to make it 5-4. But he got out of the jam without any more damage by getting the next batter to ground out.
“Devin, usually we try to start him because he takes a while to loosen up,” Swistak said. “I had to use him today [out of the pen] because we had a lot of games this week, and I was running out of pitchers. He’s more of a starter for us. … He was loosening up as he went, and he battled, and he found it.”
The Hurricanes also found him a little more run support in the sixth, when Sam Larabee doubled in a run and scored, along with Swistak, on another Kogut sac bunt.
Hoosac Valley gets a couple of days off before going to Cooperstown, N.Y., on Tuesday to face Mount Everett.
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