Buffis Battles to Win in Mounties' Opener

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- It did not take long for Robby Buffis to find trouble or for him to find his way out of it.
The Mount Greylock senior pitcher loaded the bases with one out in the first inning of Tuesday's season opener against St. Joseph.
But he picked up two of his 10 strikeouts to get out of that jam, allowing just one unearned run en route to a 7-1 win over the Crusaders.
"Robby did a great job," Mount Greylock coach Steve Messina said. "He battled. He wasn't as sharp as he normally is. He walked some more guys (five) than he's used to doing. But he battled.
"He got himself into trouble [in the first], and then pitched himself out of it. Sometimes he has a history of doing things like that. But he battles. That's what you can always count on with Robbie."
Mount Greylock (1-0) took advantage of six St. Joseph errors and got two hits apiece from Jack Thistle and Ian Brink.
The Mounties also got stellar relief from sophomore southpaw Adam Hall, who pitched two scoreless in his first varsity appearance.
Hall channeled his inner Buffis in the sixth, issuing a one-out walk and falling behind 3-0 to the No. 9 hitter before striking him out and eventually retiring the side.
"For a sophomore, with no experience to be able to go out and do that is impressive," Messina said. "It's impressive for a senior to do it, but for a sophomore in his first varsity game, that's really, really impressive."
Hall ended up with three strikeouts in two innings.
Devon Johnston and Pat Latini combined for six Ks and just two earned runs in the loss.
Johnston, the starter, left trailing 3-1, but the Crusaders committed three miscues in a two-run fifth that gave Mount Greylock some breathing room.
St. Joseph coach Dennis Murphy characterized Monday's game as a learning experience for his squad.
"We've got a blend of experienced players and some younger kids coming in who are really good ballplayers," Murphy said. "We haven't been outside. What I was telling them was, 'It's OK. Where we're at to this point, I'm happy.'
"You play a team like Greylock, they're very good, they're well coached, they don't make a lot of mistakes. And we had our chances."
Latini got on base courtesy of a two-base Mount Greylock error to open the game. He went to third on another error and came home when Kyle Crocker drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
But Buffis got the next man swinging, and the Mounties got two runs of their own in the bottom of the first.
Ryan Wadsworth and and Ian Brink singled, and Nick DiSanti and Buffis drew bases-loaded walks to make it 2-1.
The Mounties tacked on runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth to put the game out of reach.
In the fifth, Dan Flynn dropped down a squeeze bunt to score Liam Collins and make it 3-1. In the sixth, Thistle's infield single and three walks keyed a two-run rally.
In the sixth, Thistle singled home Flynn, stole second and came home on Brink's double to right-center to cap the scoring.
Mount Greylock travels to Lenox on Wednesday.
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