Potash, Pittsfield Outslug Spartans

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- On a day when offense took center stage, Pittsfield’s Mia Potash had a leading role.
Potash went 4-for-4 with two triples and a home run to lead the Generals to an 18-9 win over East Longmeadow in the quarter-finals of the Western Massachusetts Division 1 softball tournament.
Jordynn Bazinet allowed four earned runs over 4-⅔ innings in the circle, and Juliana Johansen finished up for fourth-seeded Pittsfield (9-4), which moves on to next Wednesday’s semi-final against either Chicopee or Longmeadow, who meet on Monday.
Potash drove in four runs -- one in Pittsfield’s nine-run third and three with a homer over the fence in right center in an eight-run fourth.
“She was consistent, and she’s been consistently, progressively getting better and better at the plate,” Pittsfield coach Jim Clary said. “This year, she’s batting over .600 for the whole year, and lot of her games lately have been three or four hits per game the last four or five games.”
Early on, she was the only player hitting for Pittsfield. Her first-inning, two-out triple was the only base-runner for the Generals in the first two innings.
All that changed in the third as Pittsfield used seven hits and four East Longmeadow errors to take a 9-1 lead.
Lexi Sondrini, Mia Arpante and Potash had consecutive hits. Bazinet later helped her cause with an RBI double, and Madison Crouse hit a two-run single in the rally.
One inning later, Pittsfield batted around again to stretch its lead to 17-1. Abby Lummus doubled in a run, and Sondrini and Sophia Santos each had an RBI, but the big blow came from Potash, who tripled early in the rally and capped it with a three-run bomb.
The back-to-back rallies quickly erased the memory of a rough start defensively for Pittsfield, which committed errors in each of the first three innings -- the third leading to a brief 1-0 lead for the Spartans.
“Very rough start,” Clary said. “I think it was rust. We haven’t played in, what, nine or 10 days, something like that. We did practice. We did a lot of ground balls, a lot of fly balls, but you just don’t get the same feel as a game.
“They were obviously a little nervous with Western Mass hype. This morning, they had some butterflies. But they seemed to settle down as the game went along.”
East Longmeadow showed a lot of fight after falling into a 16-run hole, scoring six runs on eight hits in the fifth inning to chase Bazinet. Kenzie Ryan had the big hit with a two-run double and came home on Lily Sterling’s two-run single.
Clary made the call to Johansen to break East Longmeadow’s offensive rhythm.
“She’s done that a couple of times earlier this year, too,” he said. “Jordynn’s throwing fine, but you can see, after the 10 days off, maybe she was getting a little exhausted toward the end. Juliana came and stepped right in.
“It’s nice going from a right-hander [Bazinet] to a left-hander. There’s not much change in velocity, but it’s coming off the other hip.”
The Generals tacked on one run in the sixth when Sondrini singled, advanced to third on a ball to the backstop and scored on another wild pitch.
The Spartans mounted a two-out rally in the seventh, scoring two and putting a runner on second before Johnansen registered her fourth strikeout to end the game.
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