Fick Pitches Pittsfield to Western Mass-Clinching Win
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- A month ago, when the Pittsfield High baseball team was mired in a 2-3 start, a trip to the Division 1 Western Massachusetts tournament did not seem a certainty.
On Saturday, the Generals won their fourth straight game to punch their playoff ticket with four games left in the regular season.
Sam Fick struck out seven in a complete-game, 7-3 win over Drury at Joe Wolfe Field to give the Generals their 10th win of the season.
“It feels great after the slow start to the year,” Pittsfield coach Seamus Morrison said. “Starting 2-3 and losing a couple of really tough games early on -- that really built a lot of character for the team. Now, we get into a deficit of 1, 2, 3 runs, we’re still confident we’re going to swing the bats.”
Drury (6-9) jumped on top early on Saturday morning. Logan Rumbolt led off the bottom of the first with a single to center field, stole second and came home on a two-base outfield error off the bat of Thaylen Harrison.
Harrison then stole third and came in on a fielder’s choice to make it 2-0 after one.
In the fourth, Pittsfield got its bats going with a three-hit, four-run rally highlighted by Simon Nassif’s two-run double to left-center.
After Rumbolt scored again after reaching on a bunt single in the bottom of the third, Pittsfield tacked on two in the fifth. This time, Quin Matthews hit an RBI single to score Shane Tierney and ended up coming home on a sacrifice fly from Fick.
The final run also scored on a sac fly, this time by Austin Houghtaling in the top of the seventh.
Meanwhile, Fick righted the ship after a rocky first inning and kept Drury at bay, stranding one runner in each of the last five innings and getting involved on defense himself. Fick recorded five assists and had a big putout to start the sixth, hustling over to take the throw from Matt Newton on what looked to be an easy unassisted putout for the first baseman before Newton bobbled the ball and needed last-second help.
“What [Fick] does is he does a really good job of squaring himself up to the hitter after he pitches,” Morrison said. “He fields his position fantastic. Granted, he’s a first baseman as well, so he knows to get over and cover on a ball to the right side. He knows to watch for the bunt.
“That’s Sam’s mindset. A couple of things may not go right for him, but he knows if he stays with it and he’s persistent and keeps the hustle, he’ll pick up an extra out here or there just on extra hustle. It’s great to have a kid like that, a senior, who shows the other kids how to field the position.”
Drury coach Pat Boulger was also impressed with Fick, the latest in a line of aces that have been thrown at Drury in what is now an eight-game losing streak after a 6-1 start.
“I feel like asking the other coaches, ‘What did I ever do to you?’ “ Boulger quipped. “But seriously, it’s a sign of respect to our players. We may be 6-9, but no one is coming into Joe Wolfe Field thinking they’re going to walk all over Drury.
“You ask the other coaches around Berkshire County, is Drury a 6-9 team, and I think they’ll tell you absolutely not.”
And that is why Boulger is not giving up on the post-season, and neither are his players.
“Needless to say, it’s been a rough stretch,” Boulger said of the losing streak. “That would be an understatement. But, to their credit, they have not hung their heads. They haven’t given up on each other. They haven’t given up on the program. They haven’t given up on the coaches. They have continued to come to work every single solitary day in practice and do the things we ask them to do.
“I believe that they believe that we can do this. With five games left, is [10-10] an easy task? No. Is it a doable task? Yes. I know that they believe they still can accomplish this. … I’m proud of them. There’s no quit in them. There’s no hanging their heads. There’s no blaming kids. And for the young team that they are, I think that’s a great step for their maturity as baseball players.”
Drury graduates just three seniors off this year’s team. Logan Rumbolt, Kody Crosier and Matthew Stewart, who were honored prior to Saturday’s game.
The Blue Devils will continue their quest for the post-season on Monday at Hoosac Valley. Pittsfield hosts Monument Mountain on Monday.