Kogut Shines in Cooperstown as Canes Clinch Western Mass

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Hoosac Valley sophomore Devin Kogut gave up two hits in the first inning and not much else the rest of the way to earn a 4-0 win over Pittsfield on Tuesday morning at Doubleday Field.
Kogut struck out two and scattered five hits over six innings of work to help the Hurricanes win their 10th game this spring and qualify for the Western Massachusetts tournament.
"He keeps you off balance," Hoosac Valley coach Mike Larabee said. "He's a little quirky. He throws a little bit of everything. Hey, he's 5-0 for us."
The Hurricanes scored their runs with the benefit of just two balls hit out of the infield: Nick Murach's double and Noah Matrigali's RBI single in the top of the fifth.
Otherwise, Hoosac Valley (10-6) made the most of two Pittsfield errors that opened the doors for a two-run second and a two-run fifth.
"We've been playing kind of flat for a few games now. We've been committting a few errors, and we really just haven't turned the page on that," PHS coach Sean Morrison said. "It's been an epidemic we've hit."
Morrison declined to blame the ground rules at Doubleday Field, where teams don't take infield/outfield before the game, with his team's defensive problems.
"I don't think infield/outfield affects that at all," he said.
Larabee agreed, indicating that while it was different, it was not a major factor for the Hurricanes.
"We practice so hard every day. We go at it every mday," he said. "For us to not have that is no big deal. we take hundreds of ground balls every day. We talked about it, but we were ready."
Hoosac Valley did not commit an error behind Kogut, who pitched his way out of a one-out, two-on jam in the first inning. He got the second out on a flyball to left and the third on a groundball to Noah Matrigali at second base.
From there, Kogut allowed just three hits, erasing one baserunner on a pickoff at first base.
"He was around the strike zone," Morrison said. "Our approach is usually pretty patient, but today we went up and were swinging at the ball. The pitcher did a good job mixing his speeds and stuff, and they made a few good plays. I think maybe halfway through the game, we've got to make an in-game adjustment or those things happen."
PHS starter Shane McMahon struck out three in 4-plus innings and was tagged with all four runs -- three unearned.
In the second, a walk and a hit batter put the first two men aboard, and Chris Larabee's sacrfice bunt put two in scoring position.
An error on a ground ball allowed one run to score, and Henry Sniezek followed with a bunt single to make it 2-0.
In the fifth, Murach led off with a double, and Keagan McGrath reached on a bunt ahead of Matrigali, who belted a single to center field ot make it 3-0. McGrath ended up on third base and eventtually scored on an error on a ground ball with the bases loaded.
Hoosac Valley, which was well on the way to qualifying for the tournament on Monday before Mother Nature intervened, takes a three-game winning streak into Thursday's home game against Mount Greylock.
"We were up 8-2 last night [against St. Joseph], and it got rained out, so it was nice to get this one against a Division 1 tournament team," Larabee said.
Pittsfield (10-7) hosts Southwick on Wednesday.
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