Late Rally Lifts Mounties in Pitchers Duel in State Quarter-Finals
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – In addition to being the Mount Greylock baseball team’s ace pitcher, Jack Cangelosi has had some big hits for the Mounties.
On Sunday, he sparked them to their biggest win of the year without taking the bat off his shoulder.
Cangelosi worked a leadoff walk to start a two-run sixth inning as the Mounties defeated Douglas, 3-1, in the quarter-finals of the Division 5 State Tournament.
The win sends Mount Greylock back to the state semi-finals for the first time since 2015, when it advanced to the state title game, where it fell, 2-0, to St. Mary’s of Lynn at Holy Cross.
This time around, the third-seeded Mounties (20-4) will meet No. 2 Georgetown at a neutral site, likely Tuesday, in the Final Four. Georgetown advanced Saturday with a 1-0 win over Bourne in the quarter-finals.
Mount Greylock, which cruised through the first two rounds of the state tournament, got nearly all it could handle from 11th-seeded Douglas on Sunday afternoon.
After each team scored a run in the first inning, Cangelosi and the Tigers’ Griffin Berard settled into a pitchers duel with neither allowing a run over the next four.
After Mounties third baseman Thomas Martin and first baseman Dylen Harrison combined on a bang-bang play to strand a runner in the top of the sixth, the Mounties brought the top of their order to the plate in the bottom of the frame.
And that meant Cangelosi, who already had a single that led to the Mounties’ first run back in the first inning.
“I was just trying to get on base by any means,” Cangelosi said. “I knew I had Derek [Paris] behind me. Derek can crush the ball, and there are a lot of guys behind me who can crush the ball. My job as the leadoff hitter is just to get on.”
He did so by taking just the second walk allowed by Berard and by staring down borderline pitches on balls 3 and 4 in the process.
“It was close,” Cangelosi said. “I was on top of the plate as much as I could be. So I felt pretty confident. I was trusting my own strike zone.”
Paris, who had one of three Mount Greylock hits going to the sixth – a double to score Cangelosi’s courtesy runner, Leif Johnson – did not quite “crush the ball” this time around, instead popping up behind home plate for the inning’s first out.
“That was kind of a little disappointing,” Rick Paris said with a chuckle.
“I was hoping for something out to the outfield to get that runner over,” Mount Greylock’s coach (and Derek’s dad) said of the Division I-bound catcher’s sixth-inning at-bat. “But the other guys came through. That’s what it takes. We tell them: It’s a team effort, man. You can’t count on one guy always to win it.”
Chase Doyle followed Paris with a double to left field. Rick Paris held up Johnson to set up second-and-third with one out for cleanup man Landen Jamula.
Jamula, who leads the Mounties in RBIs this spring, got his 33rd on a chopper to the left side of the infield. Johnson beat the throw to the plate, and Mount Greylock had its first lead of the game at 2-1.
After Douglas chose to give Jackson Shelsy an intentional free pass to load the bases with one out, Harrison lofted a fly ball to right field that brought home Chase to give Mount Greylock a two-run cushion.
Cangelosi got the first hitter in the top of the seventh swinging at the third strike, but Douglas’ Owen Gray then beat out an infield single to bring the tying run to the plate.
Harrison ran down a foul ball for the second out, and Doyle made a routine catch on a fly to center to end the game.
Mount Greylock won with its lowest run production since its last loss – six games ago in a shutout at D4 Monument Mountain.
It did so by continuing an astounding post-season defensive run.
In its last six games – three in the Western Mass tournament, three in the state tournament – the Mounties have allowed a total of three runs.
One batter into Sunday’s game, it looked like that run might be in jeopardy, but after Ryan Bonin led off with a double and moved around on a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly, Cangelosi was money.
“I knew my defense – we’re always locked in on defense,” Cangelosi said. “And they were friggin’ amazing today. I’m so proud of those guys. That was the best I’ve seen us play all year on defense. Jackson Shelsy, Dylen [Harrison], Thomas [Martin], everyone was playing amazing.”
And Paris, the potential semi-final starter who already has a perfect game in the post-season, ended Douglas’ fifth inning with a strike ‘em out/throw ‘em out double play down to second baseman Alexander Axt.
Rick Paris said the battery mates, who each are going on to play college ball in the fall, make his job a little easier on game day.
“We know if we put up a crooked number, three or four runs, we’re going to have a really good shot at winning that game, because [Cangelosi] is not going to give up many runs,” he said.
“Those two have been with each other since, I think, they were 8 years old, pitching, all-stars, the way through state championships in Cal Ripken League, a couple of those. All the travel and everything else. … It’s going to be tough when those two have to leave each other, but they’re groomed to do bigger and better things.
“Right now it’s awesome because I don’t have to call any pitches, I just let them go at it. They know what they’re doing, and I have full trust in them, 100 percent.”