Pittsfield Wins Round One With Taconic
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- When the Taconic baseball team plated the first three men to come to the plate on Saturday afternoon, it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon for Pittsfield.
But Pittsfield's Sam Fick started to figure things out.
"I knew I was trying to aim my pitches too much, so I kept throwing my pitches in the dirt and not hitting my spots," Fick said of the rough start. "I told myself I had to calm down, and once I was able to calm down, I was able to throw strikes, get people out. They were swinging themselves into out. And every now and then I picked up a K."
Fick finished with two strikeouts while allowing six hits and three earned runs in six innings of work before handing the ball to Chris Tracy, who pitched a scoreless second to give Pittsfield a 6-4, season-opening win over its rivals.
Austin O'Neil went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and Chad Shade and Jordan Nassif had two hits apiece for Pittsfield.
After getting out of the first with the first of the Generals' three double plays to strand two runners, Fick gave up just two hits and an unearned run the rest of the way.
"He settled down, and I think [his] last inning, the sixth inning, he looked great," Pittsfield coach Bob Moynihan said. "He was throwing as hard as he did all game. I told him not to hold anything back next time, start that way right from the beginning. Don't save it."
Fick said his one-out double to left-center in the bottom of the second was a plus. Although the hit did not lead to a run, it was one of the things that helped Fick settle in.
"I was down on my confidence after that first inning, and then once I got that hit, it got me pumped up, feeling good again, and I was able to get out there and start to shut the door," he said.
Taconic (2-1) kicked the door in to start the game.
After Jack Cooney drew a leadoff walk, Abdiel Cotto singled to put two on for Josh Berthiaume. He laced a single up the middle to score Cooney, and Cotto came home one batter later when Kevin Squires singled to right.
Fick got the next man to line out to third, but a fielder's choice loaded the bases for Ryan Abel, who singled in a run to make it 3-0.
Fick then got a ground ball to second. O'Neil relayed to Kevin Donati, who pivoted to Denis Cooney for the twin-kill.
The Generals went on to turn double plays in the third and fourth innings to stymie Taconic threats.
"That was a killer -- three out of the first four innings," Taconic coach Kevin Stannard said. "If you don't score and keep scoring against them, they're going to come back because they're that solid of a team."
The PHS comeback came in the third when Simon Nassif led off with a single and Austin Houghtaling drew a walk. Cooney sacrificed both runners into scoring position with nobody out, and Chad Shade drove in a run with an infield single that ended up producing two runs due to a throwing error.
Shade then came home on Jordan Nassif's double to right to tie the game.
Pittsfield went on top in the fourth thanks to Anthony Jones' infield single, an error, a wild pitch and O'Neil's RBI single to left.
Taconic tied the game in the top of the fifth when Cotto reached, stole second, went to third on Berthiaume's second hit of the day and scored on an error.
But in the bottom of the fifth, PHS went ahead for good, utilizing its speed on the basepaths.
Shade dropped a single into left to start the rally and then stole second. Jordan Nassif reached on a bunt that sent Shade to third and then stole second himself.
Four batters later, with two out and the bases loaded, O'Neil delivered a single to left to bring home two runs and provide the final margin.
Kevin Squires took the loss for Taconic, allowing 10 hits.
Stannard said he was pleased with Squires' outing.
"I thought he did pretty well," Stannard said. "It was his first start. Last year, he caught the whole year. He didn't pitche at all.
"It's a whole new staff. He's the senior, and he has composure. That's why he got the start today."
Taconic will look to get back in the win column on Monday at East Longmeadow. Pittsfield is scheduled to travel to Wahconah on Monday.