Traversa Double Powers Pittsfield Over Taconic
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- At some level, Dominic Traversa had to know it was just business.
But it couldn't hurt to act like it was personal.
When the Pittsfield catcher stepped into the box with one out in the top of the fifth on Sunday afternoon against Taconic, the bases were loaded.
They got that way because Taconic chose to intentionally walk Kevin Donati with men on second and third and one out and take its chances with the Generals' cleanup hitter.
Traversa did his job -- clearing the bases with a double to right that turned a 2-1 lead into a 6-1 lead, and Pittsfield went on to a 6-2 win.
"When they walked Kevin to get to me, I knew I had to be really aggressive and come out swinging," Traversa said. "Just put the ball in play was my mentality.
"I had grounded into a double play my last at-bat, so I wasn't surprised they [walked Donati], but I was just trying to make 'em pay.
"It was definitely motivation."
Ryan Grande pitched a three-hitter for the Generals, striking out eight, including the last five men he faced, as Pittsfield improved to 11-4 on the season and avenged a 9-4 loss to Taconic from three weeks ago.
Pittsfield jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with single runs in the first and second innings.
In the first, Donati doubled in Chad Shade. In the second, Joe Gratton doubled to right center and came home on a two-base outfield error.
Taconic (8-5) cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third.
Dewey drew a one-out walk and moved up when Mitchell Clary walked. A passed ball and a wild pitch brought Dewey home with Taconic's first run.
After Dewey (6 innings pitched, 1 strikeout) stranded a runner on third in the top of the fourth, Pittsfield broke the game open in the fifth.
Shane Tierney singled to right and moved up on Shade's second walk of the game.
Grande then bunted both runners over to set the stage for Donati's intentional free pass.
Pittsfield coach Bob Moynihan understood why Taconic elected to load 'em up for Traversa.
"You put yourself in a double-play situation with a guy at first," Moynihan said. "You gamble, and Dom came through.
"Dom's been hitting the ball well, so you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. If you don't [walk Donati], Kevin hits a double or triple and two runs come in. Then people say, 'Geez, why didn't you walk him?' "
Traversa made it 5-1 with his double and went to third when Bobby New singled up the middle. A wild pitch brought Traversa home to give Pittsfield a five-run lead.
Carusotto tripled to lead off the bottom of the fifth, and Grande retired the next nine in a row (Mitchell Clary's groundout brought Carusotto home).
Grande struck out six of the final nine batters and the last five men to come to the plate after walking four with just one strikeout over the first three innings.
"He struggled early with his control," Moynihan said. "He has a blister developing on his finger, and it's kind of bothering him. I told him, 'Don't think about the blister. Just think about throwing strikes.' I think after that, he looked stronger. He looked more confident throwing the ball."
Pittsfield's catcher said he had all the confidence in the world in his battery mate.
"He had everything," Traversa said. "His fastball was working all seven innings. His curveball had a good drop. His slider was his putaway pitch.
"I know with any count he can throw any pitch, and that's very comforting for a catcher."
Taconic coach Kevin Stannard was anything but comforted by his team's performance, saying he thought his squad gave up in the late innings.
But tomorrow is another day.
"[Pittsfield is] playing great right now," Stannard said. "Not to take anything away from them, they beat us today, but we made some mistakes that are very uncharacteristic.
"We've got three more right in a row. We have Drury [Monday]. We have Monument back here on Tuesday and Lenox Wednesday. Then we have a day off, and then we play St. Joe. Five games in six days.
"They're lucky we don't have practice tomorrow. They're probably lucky we have a game. Hey, let them refocus. It hurts a little bit. But maybe they'll come back a little more inspired with their effort tomorrow."
More photos to come from this game.