PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Izaiya Mestre may not have had his “best stuff” on Friday night at Wahconah Park.
But when the Taconic High School senior needed it the most, he was at his best.
Mestre struck out six batters -- all with men in scoring position -- and stranded 10 baserunners in six innings of work to pitch Taconic to a 9-0 win over rival Pittsfield.
“He definitely wasn’t his sharpest tonight, but he’s got a different makeup,” Taconic coach Kevin Stannard said of his ace. “He hasn’t given up an earned run this year, so I think that sits in the back of his mind.
“But he definitely was not sharp tonight, and he’d be the first to admit it.”
Mestre did have the luxury of a 7-0 lead after the bottom of the first inning thanks to seven unearned runs against Pittsfield starter Jay Coyne.
And even though the Generals never got anywhere near bringing the tying run to the plate, they put runners on on base in every inning against Mestre -- getting as far as third on two occasions.
“He battled out there,” Stannard said. “He threw a lot of pitches. He needs to trust his defense. We have, in my opinion, one of the best defenses in the state. And these [pitchers], instead of being so fine, need to put the ball over the plate, put it in play and get yourself an easy inning or two.
“Hopefully, he’ll learn from this, and we’ll move forward.”
Taconic (16-0) got benefited from a one-out error in the bottom of the first to set the stage for its big inning.
That error scored Jack Cooney, who had led off the inning with a walk and moved up on Jake McNeice’s double. Pittsfield got the second out before a run scored, but Mestre drove in a pair with a single, Devon Walker had an RBI hit and Cooney came up a second time and delivered a bases-loaded double to make it 7-0.
In the sixth, a leadoff error opened the door to a two-run inning capped when Brett Murphy singled up the middle to score Drew DeMartino and Abel.
Those runs came against Pittsfield reliever Hunter Potash, who came on after Coyne departed with three strikeouts and three walks to go along with six hits. It was the seven unearned runs that made the difference.
“Any time you play a really good team, you have to keep mistakes to a minimum,” Pittsfield coach Seamus Morrison said. “And it showed in the first inning, giving up seven runs. … That’s the second game in a row we’ve staked a team to a seven-run lead.
“After that, we played well, we really did. Jay [Coyne] settled down, and he started throwing the ball really well. Unfortunately, for us, offensively, we were facing a pretty good pitcher in Izaiya [Mestre].”
Taconic and Pittsfield will be in the same ballpark again on Tuesday, but they will not be playing one another. PHS (10-6) will take on Hoosac Valley, and Taconic will look to extend its perfect season against Monument Mountain as part of a Berkshire Country triple-header at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y., where Wahconah will take on Drury in the other game.