PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- With a pair of four-inning wins bracketing a 4-0 win, the Pittsfield Little League American Division 12-year-old All-Stars made it look easy this week.
But their manager was quick to point out that looks can be deceiving.
“It’s never easy,” Ty Perrault said after his team beat the National Division All-Stars, 11-0, in four innings on Myron Gray Field. “[The Nationals] have got a great team. They’ve got a lot of hitters.
“It’s just a credit to our pitching and defense. That’s kind of the trademark in our league. We stress pitching and defense, and that was there. And then the hitting, too.”
Simon Mele came within one out of a no-hitter on Friday night and finished with eight strikeouts in four frames. James Smith’s two-out double in the top of the fourth was the lone hit for the Nationals.
The Americans finished the week without allowing a run in the double-elimination tournament. They knocked off Dalton-Hinsdale, 23-0, in four innings on Sunday, edged the Nats, 4-0, on Tuesday, and finished things off in Friday’s finale.
They got all the offense they needed in the bottom of the first.
Mele started things off with a single to left, and Jay Codey launched a moonshot over the fence in left-center to make it 2-0 before the Nationals recorded their first out.
“That’s why I like having Simon and Codey right at the top,” Perrault said. “They make things happen, and it gets the ball rolling. We go from there.”
Matt Egan kept it rolling with a single up the middle and moved up on an error and a wild pitch that set up second and third for Mitch Hall.
He almost broke the game wide open with a fly ball to short center field, but the Nationals’ Evan Roccabruna charged the ball, made a diving grab and popped up to retire Christian Barry, who was attempting to move up to third on the play.
Egan did score, and the Americans took a 3-0 lead to the second.
In the bottom of the second, they scored six more times to take command. David Wildgoose started the rally with a one-out triple.
In the third, Konnor Dugan led off with a double, and Mele traded places with him to make it 10-0. Mele then stole third and came home on Egan’s RBI groundout to finish off the scoring.
Mele struck out two hitters each inning, including the final out of the game to strand the Nats’ Smith on second base.
“He was on another level tonight,” Perrault said of Mele. “He’s thrown well all year. But now he’s got four bonafide pitches, and he just had it going tonight. He was just in a groove.
“He was fun to watch. Fun to call the pitches, obviously, and he was fun to watch.”
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