PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Pittsfield scored six times in the top of the ninth inning Monday to earn a 9-3 win over Taconic and a share of the Berkshire County North Division title.
Carter Matthews went 3-for-5, and Ian Benoit doubled in a pair of runs in that ninth-inning rally as Pittsfield (18-2) earned a split in the season series with co-champion Taconic and won its ninth straight game.
“It’s a good capper to a great season,” Pittsfield third-year coach Seamus Morrison said.
“I don’t like to admit it, but it’s my first win against Taconic as a varsity coach. So it’s good to get that monkey off my back. And, you know, it’s a great group of kids. They did the work on the field. It was great to see, and I’m proud of them.”
Pittsfield scored three times in the top of the first to take a lead that lasted until the third inning. But Taconic pitchers Christian Womble and Anton Lazits held the Generals at bay through the rest of regulation and one extra inning.
In the ninth, though, Ryan LaPierre reached on an error, and Jon Halse followed with a single to right to put runners at the corners.
Jaden Coscia singled down the third base line to score LaPierre and break the 3-3 tie.
Zak Zerbado then walked to load the bases before third baseman Brendan Stannard picked up a ground ball and fired home to Leo Arace for the inning’s first out.
But Matthews and Joe Traversa each singled in a run to get the lead to 6-3 before Benoit’s double to left-center plated a pair. The game’s final run came in on the inning’s second error before Taconic reliever Sam Sherman was able to induce a foul pop up to end it.
LaPierre, Pittsfield’s third pitcher after Benoit and Hunter Potash, worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to close the game out.
Potash earned the win with four innings of scoreless relief, allowing just two hits, striking out a pair and walking one.
A one-out error opened the door to Pittsfield’s three-run first inning, but the Generals made the most of that error by getting singles from Benoit and Halse and a two-run double from LaPierre against Taconic ace Womble.
“It was good to see for, you know, pretty much the third game, I guess we’d say because yesterday we got to see him for a couple of innings,” Morrison said. “Once you face that velocity a couple of times, you kind of catch up to it, and we’ve been working on catching up to that velocity, cutting the swings down. A couple of kids got a good piece today, and it showed.”
Pittsfield and Taconic played two innings on Sunday afternoon before a downpour forced a rainout and replay. Since Monday was the last day of the regular season and Taconic already had a 4 p.m. home game against Westfield on the schedule, the de facto Berkshire North title game was played at 1:30.
Taconic rallied for three runs to tie it with a two-out rally in the third.
Lazits got things started by drawing a walk. After he stole second, Womble (3-for-4) drove him home with a single up the middle. Stannard’s double to left put two men in scoring position for Arace, who delivered a two-run single to tie it.
Taconic went on to lose its nightcap against Westfield to fall to 17-3 but figures to be a high seed when the Western Mass Division 3 brackets are announced on Tuesday evening in Greenfield.
Pittsfield’s Morrison sounded a cautiously optimistic note about his team’s prospects for Tuesday’s seeding meeting.
“We’ll see what tomorrow brings,” he said. “They’ve never really been too kind to us, seeding wise. But, you know, maybe this game today stamps us for a home game, hopefully. If not, we’ll play on the road and get it done there.”