NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North Adams struck just before Mother Nature did on Saturday night, as the local team rallied to a 9-5 victory over the Boston North End Dodgers, just before weather shortened the first game of the annual LaFesta Baseball Exchange at Joe Wolfe Field.
The two sides met for the 29th straight season in the yearly event in which each club travels for a two-game series. Although Saturday’s action was halted in the top of the sixth inning because of a lightning storm that swept quickly through the area, the teams meet again on Sunday morning for the second game. North Adams will also travel east in August for a pair of games hosted by the Dodgers in Boston.
Things may have ended in a draw had North Adams not struck for its final scoring burst in the bottom of the fifth inning, as it scored four runs to break open a 5-5 score with the deciding margin of victory. Landon Champney got it going after he led off by slicing the ball past third base for a double, and he then scored the winning run on a throwing error after Tristan Garner walked and attempted to steal second to draw a throw.
The home team kept piling on in the fifth to increase its lead. Garner came in on a passed ball, Chase Vanderwoude walked and later stole home and Owen Gagne smacked a single past third, advanced on a balk and then crossed the plate following a wild pitch.
Right-hander Matt Wasilewski earned the victory on the mound, as he went the distance for five full innings of work. He scattered six hits but only issued one walk, while striking out four.
North Adams wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard to take the lead, going up 1-0 in the bottom of the second. Gagne led off the inning with a shot deep to center for a double, he advanced to third on an error and then scored thanks to an RBI ground out from Justin Denette.
Wasilewski retired the first seven batters he faced in order, before Coste Beechin lofted a single to center with one out in the bottom of the third for North End’s first hit. That first base runner proved valuable, as Beechin stole second to get into scoring position and then rounded third and crossed the plate to even the game at 1-1 when Cam Anderson connected for an RBI single to center.
North Adams answered right back to go back in front. Parker Winters singled to center and moved to second on a balk, before then advancing to third base when Justin Levesque also connected for a base hit to center field. Garner supplied a sac-fly RBI on a flyout to right that plated Winters, and Levesque stole third and then scored on a throwing error.
Vanderwoude kept it going with a base hit, and he came all the way around to score from first when Wasilewski smacked an RBI double. A throwing error then allowed Wasilewski to score and increase it to a 5-1 lead for North Adams.
The Dodgers had one last rally in them, as they scored four runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game back up again. Stevin Griffin walked, Richard Bova singled to right and Beechin lined a hit past first base that loaded the bases. Connor Sealey got the scoring going with an RBI single up the middle, and Anderson hit a slow infield roller that went for a fielder’s choice RBI as the runner at second was erased but Anderson beat the throw to first on the double-play attempt. A throwing error allowed another run in, and Ryan Mazurke had an RBI ground out that plated Boston’s last run of the game.
North End nearly got a rally going in the fourth, but some solid defense helped North Adams get out of a jam. John Paul Georgio was hit by a pitch leading off and Peter Shea followed with a single past third base. But the defense turned a smooth, 6-4-3 double play to get two quick outs and clear most of the bases. Wasilewski then struck out the next batter swinging to quell that threat.
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