Taconic's Mestre Stymies Pittsfield

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Izaiya Mestre was masterful on Saturday at Wahconah Park.
The Taconic High junior struck out nine and allowed just three hits in a complete-game, 3-0 shutout win over rival Pittsfield.
Mestre saved his best pitches for when it counted most. Four of his strikeouts came with runners in scoring position. He stranded seven runners over seven innings -- five in scoring position.
And he helped his team complete a season sweep of Pittsfield while improving to 12-1 overall.
“My slider and my curveball were working, and then I just kind of used my fastball to keep people off balance,” Mestre said after winning his fifth game against no losses this spring.
PHS coach Seamus Morrison agreed that variety was the key to Mestre’s success on Saturday.
“He’s very, very good,” Morrison said. “He mixes his pitches, which makes it look like he’s throwing harder. And he’s around the plate. Guys who are around the plate, you’ve got to be swinging the bat, and that’s what we were doing.
“He was mixing speeds really well today. He came out early throwing strikes and ended the day throwing strikes. I tip my hat to that kid.”
For Pittsfield (6-6), Sam Fick was nearly as good.
Fick allowed just one hit, and it did not come until the sixth inning. But it was a big one.
Jack Cooney led off the top of the sixth with a walk and promptly stole second to put a man in scoring position for Jake McNeice, who bounced a single up the middle to bring home the game’s first run.
Fick retired the next man, Ryan Abel, on a fielder’s choice and got the inning’s second out on a ground ball that moved Abel to second. Then Brett Murphy drew a walk before Abdiel Cotto reached on an error that loaded the bases for Drew DeMartino.
Martino walked to drive in a run, and Murphy scored on an errant throw to make it 3-0.
Fick ended up pitching a 1-2-3 seventh to finish with one earned run on one hit, four walks and four strikeouts.
Pittsfield looks to snap a two-game losing streak on Tuesday at Monument Mountain.
Taconic, already secured a post-season berth this spring, looks to continue improving its playoff position on Monday at Wahconah.
Taconic coach Kevin Stannard said Saturday that his team has a very high ceiling going into the last two weeks of the regular season.
“I can’t say enough about how well these kids are playing,” he said. “If we can start hitting the ball more consistently, and we’ve talked about that the last week and a half … We’re always looking for double digits in hits. If we can do that, I think we can play with anyone in Western Mass.”
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