Kirchner, Wahconah Top Mount Greylock
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Wahconah baseball team has given up four runs or fewer in each of its last eight games.
That is a pretty good formula for winning in high school baseball, and sure enough, Wahconah has won eight in a row after Thursday's 5-2 win at Mount Greylock.
Coach Jared Shannon's team, which already has one no-hitter to its credit this season, got a three-hit performance from senior Kyly Kirchner to improve to 11-2 this spring and snap an eight-game winning streak for the Mounties (9-2).
"He battled today," Shannon said of Kirchner. "That's what seniors are supposed to do. That's kind of what you rely on to win in the tournament. I think that he did a great job of that today.
"We had someone warming up in the sixth - a young guy, but he's good - and [Kirchner] said, 'I've got this.' And he bore down and threw more strikes and did what he needed to do to compete and keep us in the game."
Shannon said that all he asks from his talented pitching staff is that it gives the team a chance to win.
"That's our strength," Shannon said. "We've thrown 10 different pitchers this year in games. Our team ERA is good, but if you look at it, we've got a lot of guys capbable of throwing strikes and, like I said, keep us in the game.
Kirchner also helped his own cause with a double to help Wahconah erase a 1-0 deficit and take a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth.
The rally started when Andrew Beaudoin led off with a single to left. Matt Schneider then walked before Moun Greylock's Ian Brink got a called third strike for one of his 10 strikeouts on the day.
Marco Anastasio then reached on an error to load the bases for Kirchner.
Kirchner drilled a basehit to right field that was misplayed, allowing Anastasio to chase his teammates around the bases and score to make it 3-1.
"That was not a clean game," Shannon said. "In fact I'm pretty sure it was 5-2 and seven unearned runs between the two teams."
Mount Greylock coach Steve Messina saw signs of things to come when his team booted a number of balls during infield practice before the game.
"You could tell right off the bat we weren't ready to go today," Messina said. "That's my fault. But Wahconah was ready, we weren't. They wanted it more than us, clearly. You can see that by the way we played today. It wasn't a good game.
"I give their pitcher credit, their team credit. They did everything they had to do. Their pitcher made pitches. He gutted it out. He threw a lot of pitches, I'm sure, but he battled."
Mount Greylock got one run back in the fifth to pull within 3-2. Brink, who drove in the game's first run with a third-inning single, had an infield single in the fifth to move Eric Hirsch into scoring position. A fielder's choice got Hirsch to third, and a Wahconah error brought him home.
Two Mount Greylock errors led to two Wahconah runs in the top of the sixth. Anastasio had one of five hits allowed by Brink and reliever Adam Hall in that rally.
"I think Ian [Brink] and Adam [Hall] pitched well, too," Messina said. "They really did a good job, and I feel bad for pitchers like that when they pitch well enough to win, and they just get no support -- no sticks, no defense, baserunning mistakes. It was a bad, bad day for us -- good day for them."
Wahconah has had a lot of good days this spring -- enough to qualify it for the Western Mass tournament with seven games left in the regular season -- starting Monday when the Mounties come to Dalton.
"We're decent," Shannon said. "I was just telling them that we have a long way to go.
"We've got a few different guys who can start, and once you have that, it kind of makes up for some of the defensive lapses we've had, which we're kind of working on sharpening. Today was a little better, but there is still some stuff that has to get better.
"We've got the long term goal of competing in the tournament. You've got to clean that stuff up or you're not going to be able to."