Barbarotta, Bats Bounce Greylock
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Taconic High School pitcher Jordan Barbarotta had plenty of run support in an 8-5 win over Mount Greylock on Saturday afternoon.
But he did not have it yet when he faced his biggest challenge of the game.
The visitors were clinging to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Sean Houston launched a one-out triple to right field.
Barbarotta was looking at Greylock's No. 2 hitter and the prospect of losing his lead.
But he struck out that man and the next one on eight pitches total to end the threat.
In the top of the fourth, his teammates rewarded him with a six-run inning, and Taconic (6-2) never looked back.
"That was a big part of the game," Barbarotta said of the third inning. "I was really happy about that. I hit my spots and fooled 'em, I guess.
"My change-up was working, and they were struggling to see it. ... I was throwing it in the dirt, and they were chasing it. I must have been doing something right."
Barbarotta did plenty right on the mound, striking out six while allowing two walks and just four earned runs on the way to his fifth win of the season.
"The thing is, he gets ahead of hitters all the time," Taconic coach Kevin Stannard said. "Sometimes he's too fine and he's got hitters 0-2, 1-2 and goes right after them instead of wasting a pitch.
"But he's 5-0 now, and he's really been throwing the ball great after Liam (Nolan), our No. 1 went down with Tommy John surgery. (Barbarotta) stepped right in as a senior captain and has done what he's supposed to do."
Alex Carusotto and Mitch Clary each did his part with a bat in his hand, accounting for eight of Taconic's 13 hits between them.
Carusotto (4-for-4) singled and scored the game's first run in the first and drove in a pair of runs with a single to center that was misplayed into a two-bagger in the fourth. Clary drove in that first run of the game and had a hit in the fourth-inning rally that chased Mount Greylock starter Andrew Leitch.
"We hit the ball very well as a team today," Barbarotta said. "Put the bat on the ball, put it in play, and good things happen."
The Mounties (6-1) committed two errors and Leitch hit a batter during that fourth inning.
"They don't get down ... but it makes it tough on any position player when the pitcher's struggling and not throwing strikes," Mount Greylock coach Steve Messina said. "It's hard for them to stay sharp and stay on their toes when the pitcher's struggling.
"And he struggled a little bit today. He had a hard time finding the strike zone. He got behind in counts a lot and had to throw strikes, and they were sitting on fast balls. They're a good team, and that's what happens when you get behind in the count against a good group of hitters. They take advantage of it."
Leitch also appeared to be battling some physical issues. In the third, he rolled his left ankle landing on a pitch to Kevin Squires. In the fourth, Leitch hit the deck again after making a throw while fielding Myles Candelet's sacrifice bunt.
"He rolled his ankle a little bit, and it's bothering him, and then he stumbled a little bit over here," Messina said. "There's no question it's bothering him. He's not the type of kid who'd ever want to say he's hurt or he's sore. His leg could be falling off, and he'd want to stay in there."
Leitch, a hockey goalie for the St. Joseph cooperative team in the winter, stayed in the game after stepping off the hill, moving to third base. He went on to single and score a run in the bottom of the fourth and later drove in two more runs for the Mounties.
After falling into a 7-0 hole, Mount Greylock scored five runs in the last four innings, showing the kind of spirit Messina hopes will continue to pay off as the season progresses. The Mounties also got four innings of solid relief from Ben Coleman.
"He's been doing that all year for us," Messina said. "He's been doing a great job. He comes in and throws strikes. He's smart, and he has decent stuff. All year long, every single time we've used him, he's been successful.
"We understand what we have, certainly, and it's nice to have a guy like that you can call on in a game, especially against a team like this. He came in against Pittsfield High the other day and shut 'em down. He came in here and did a good job against these guys. It's nice to have a guy like that you can call on almost all the time."