After Tough April, Generals a Juggernaut Going to Saturday's Title Game

By Stephen Sports
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WORCESTER, Mass. – For the Pittsfield High School baseball team, a trip out of state may have helped spur a trip to the state championship game.
On April 30, the Generals had a record of 5-4 and had lost three of their last four games.
At about 5:45 p.m. on May 2, Pittsfield was losing, 7-1, to Monument Mountain on Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Then, everything changed.
Pittsfield scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and went on to an 8-7 win over the Spartans and won 15 of 16 games – including 12 in a row – en route to Saturday afternoon’s Division 4 State Championship game.
Sixth-seeded Pittsfield (20-5) will face fourth-seeded and defending state champion Seekonk (21-3) at noon at Polar Park to decide the state title.
If it wins, it will be Pittsfield’s first state championship since 1966 and fourth in school history.
But it may not have gotten the opportunity if things had gone differently on that early May evening in the shadow of the Hall of Fame.
“Right then, we figured a lot of things out,” said Pittsfield catcher Jackson Almeida, who had the walkoff hit to deliver a 1-0 win in Tuesday’s state semi-final. “We learned to work more together as a team instead of trying to do things for ourselves. And that’s the biggest thing for us.
“We’ve got to pick each other up. We’ve got to do the thing for the next person. And it’s just helped us out. That was a big turning point for us.”
Pittsfield coach Drew Pearce said his team learned a lot this season about 
“I think not only was [the Monument Mountain game] a turning point,” Pearce said. “It was how our seniors kept our whole team accountable for everything – on the field, off the field. And they set the tone of: We’re never going to put our guard down. We will keep on striking. And no matter how many blows go against us, we’re going to keep getting back up, and we’ll have the utmost confidence in our boys around us.”
To be fair, it’s not like this Pittsfield team came out of nowhere.
The players on this year’s varsity have a long history of success in summer ball – from 2018’s run to the New England Regional title game in Little League to 2022’s Babe Ruth 13-year-old World Series final to last summer’s Babe Ruth 13-year-old New England Regional final at Wahconah Park.
But often in recent years the Generals have played in the shadow of the other high school program in town as Taconic went to four state title games in four seasons and won three state crowns from 2017 to 2021.
Pittsfield’s Jack Abel on Tuesday pointed to another game this season as a turning point in the team’s state title game run.
“Once that last Taconic game we played, beat them 6-1 at Taconic, we all knew we had a chance to win a state championship,” Abel said. “The beginning of the year was rough, but now we’re on a streak and looking to win it all.”
Abel hit the triple that led to Almeida’s game-winning hit in the Final Four. And Abel is one of six Generals hitting better than .300 this spring.
Morrie Fried leads the Generals offense, hitting .448 with six home runs and 31 RBIs, both also top on the squad.
Jake Duquette is hitting .347 with a team-best 20 stolen bases. Nick Brindle leads the Generals in walks with 21 and is hitting .333 while driving in 21 runs.
Pitching-wise, Pittsfield has been lights out in recent weeks.
Including the Taconic game Abel mentioned on May 9, the Generals have held opponents to three runs or fewer in 11 of their last 12 games and shut out five opponents in that span.
Roshan Warriar has two complete-game shutouts in the post-season – against Monument Mountain in a Western Mass tournament rematch and against East Bridgewater in Tuesday’s state semi-finals. Cam Hillard posted a complete-game shutout in the state tournament’s Sweet 16 round. And Jason Codey, who made his varsity debut at Cooperstown to get a win in relief, has a 5-0 record and 1.29 earned run average.
On Tuesday, Pearce said he was not sure who would get the ball on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s going to be Hillard or Codey,” he said. “We’ll see. They’ve both been stellar, as well as Roshan. So we’ve got an embarrassment of riches, so to speak.”
Notes: Seekonk has allowed just one run in its four state tournament wins and, like Pittsfield, won a 1-0 game in the state semi-finals. The defending champs come into Saturday’s game on an eight-game winning streak. Javi Borges struck out 10 and allowed three hits in six innings of work in the quarter-final round last Saturday. Seekonk used three different pitchers in the semi-final win. … Tickets to Saturday’s game are available for purchase here. … The only legitimate live video telecast of the game is through the National Federation of High School Associations and is available for purchase here. … Parking information around Worcester’s Polar Park is available here. … Pittsfield’s game on Saturday is the first of three at Polar Park; the Division 3 and Division 1 games are scheduled for 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. Friday’s Division 5 and Division 2 games were rescheduled to Sunday due to weather. … A program for all five baseball games is available for free on the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association website here.
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