Mount Greylock Latest Team to Clinch Western Mass
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- A win decided by the "mercy" rule against a struggling opponent usually is not cause for celebration.
But the Mount Greylock baseball team had reason to smile after beat St. Joseph, 18-2, in five innings on Saturday afternoon.
That is because the victory punched the Mounties' ticket for the MIAA Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament.
"Ten wins is 10 wins," Mount Greylock coach Steve Messina said. "We'll take it."
Of course, with nine games left in its regular season going into Saturday, Mount Greylock was not exactly pressing for win No. 10.
"We never even talked about the 10 wins after the last game," Messina said. "We were sitting at nine, and everybody knows what it means to get 10 wins.
"We weren't really focused on it -- not that we expected to win this game. But it's not something we really talk about. When it happens, then we brought it up. ... It is a good thing. It's great to be in the tournament. We're excited about that, obviously."
And on Saturday, Messina was excited to get a lot of fresh faces their first taste of varsity competition.
"Without [St. Joe] having a JV team, we were able to bring up a bunch of guys," Messina said. "I think we had seven or eight, and they all got in. They all finished the game. They all had their first at-bats.
"It was nice for that to happe. We were able to rest some kids, rest some arms. [Adam] Petricca got a shot out there. He struggled a little bit, but he was able to bare down."
Petricca pitched the fourth and fifth.
After walking the first two men he faced en route to allowing St. Joe's first two runs, he retired three of the last four men he faced in the fourth -- two by strikeout -- to limit the damage.
In the fifth, the first three Crusaders reached base, but Petricca got the next three outs by strikeout to end the game.
Strikeouts also factored prominently into the outing for starter Josh Jezouit.
In the first, Jezouit struck out the side but also loaded the bases before getting the last two men on called third strikes.
In the second, he retired the side in order on strikeouts before handing the ball to Andrew Rickus, who pitched one scoreless inning.
Mount Greylock's offense did most of its damage in the second. Hunter Abriel and Dan Flynn each doubled during a seven-run, six-hit rally.
In the third, Ian Brink's RBI double fueled a three-run rally to make it 10-0.
It was 14-0 after a fourth-inning rally started by Jesse DiLego's double to right.
And after St. Joe scored two in the bottom of the fourth, the Mounties' JV contingent put four across to get the margin over the 15-run mark.
For St. Joe, it was the end of a tough week that saw the Crusaders take on Pittsfield, Taconic and Mount Greylock.
"It stressed our pitching," St. Joe coach Chris Crawford said. "We have low numbers and then scoring 30 runs, 22 runs, that sort of thing, it's long innings and guys are throwing a lot of pitches. We've got a lot of sore arms right now.
"We've got a few days rest now, so we should be ready to go for Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday."
Crawford said that although St. Joe is not having success on the scoreboard this spring, the Crusaders are working hard.
"We're down 20 at times, and guys are still trying to learn, still trying to improve," he said. "For a lot these guys, it's a learning experience learning how to play certain positions. Some are still learning the game of baseball. But they're still willing to learn, that's the big thing. That's obviously a positive to go forward."
Mount Greylock (10-2) goes on to Dalton on Monday in a rematch against the team that on Thursday denied the Mounties in their first try at win No. 10.
"They are looking forward to that," Messina said. "They weren't happy with the way they played on Thursday. They know they're capable of playing better.
"It's not like they were staying up all night saying, 'We can't wait to play Wahconah.' But they're going to be more focused -- I hope they're more focused -- on Monday than they were last Thursday."