PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Pittsfield National Little League All-Stars will not get to play for a district championship on Friday night.
But the Nats got to walk off their field at Clapp Park Wednesday night in their last Little League tournament game.
Chase Wendling struck out nine in a four-inning win, and Christian Aldrich hit a two-run home run to lead the NL to a 16-6 win over Adams-Cheshire in the last game of the round-robin in the Don Gleason District 1 10- to 12-year-old tournament.
The defeat cost Adams (1-3) a chance to play for the title on Friday against the Pittsfield AL (4-0). Instead, Great Barrington (2-2) advances to the final by virtue of its head-to-head win against the Pittsfield NL.
On paper, the Nats may have had less at stake in Thursday’s game, but they played for pride and made their home fans proud.
“It’s a good life lesson for these guys to bounce back,” Pittsfield NL manager Kevin O’Donnell said. “We had a couple of struggles here, but it was nice to leave on a win. And [Adams] had a strong team. They had their shot, and we just had a better day today.
“The other thing I’ve been saying to these guys: Whenever you step off the field, this is your last Little League everything -- last at-bat, last pitch, last everything you do, so enjoy it.
“And I think they did.”
The Nats enjoyed a big first inning to erase an early one-run deficit with six runs on five hits.
Jude Barowsky doubled in a run, and Gavin O’Donnell drove in a pair with a single to right before Aldrich’s smash to left field made it 5-1.
Nick Berkeley then drew a walk, stole second, moved up on Treyvon Keele’s infield single. Keele and Berkeley then pulled off a delayed double steal that sent Berkeley home to make it a five-run game.
Adams got an unearned run in the top of the second, but Pittsfield put the game out of reach with a nine run second of its own.
Wendling helped his cause with a leadoff double down the line in left, and Kyle McGrath doubled to right-center. Gavin O’Donnell, Matt Burega and Wendling then each had an RBI single in the rally.
Adams rallied for a pair in the top of the third. Jack Dolan led off with an infield single, and Noah White worked a walk before Matt Witek drilled a two-run single to right to make it 15-4.
Despite holding the Nats scoreless in the bottom of the third, Adams-Cheshire faced the prospect of a 10-run rule loss if it did not get a pair in the fourth.
It did just that.
Logan Driscoll led off with a single, moved up on a groundout and scored on Dolan’s double to center. Dolan then got home on a couple of pitches that got to the backstop to make it 15-6.
“Ultimately, I try to preach to the kids that attitude is the most important thing,” Adams-Cheshire manager J.P. Levesque said. “If you think you can come back and win, you’re gonna.
“I am proud of them. The biggest thing my coaching staff and I preach is doing the little things. And, to me, showing that you have heart is one of the biggest things you can do.”
But the Nats ended the game with one out in the bottom of the fourth when Ethan O’Donnell hit a single to left that scored Burega, who had reached with a leadoff single to center.
Friday’s district final at Clapp Park between the Pittsfield AL and Great Barrington kicks off two big days of Little League baseball in the birthplace of the game. At noon on Saturday, the Pittsfield NL 8- to 10-year-old All-Stars open sectional play at Clapp Park. At 2 p.m. on Saturday, the Pittsfield AL 9/11 All-Stars are home in the sectionals at Deming Park.
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