PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- It takes 18 outs to get through a Little League baseball game.
On Wednesday, the 12-year-old All-Stars from the Pittsfield American Division got 15 of those outs on strikeouts.
Christian Barry set the tone by striking out 10 over 3-⅓ innings and helped his cause with a first inning leadoff home run as Pittsfield opened the Section 1 tournament with an 8-1 win over Rutland at Deming Park.
“Really, I just was throwing to the catcher,” Barry said. “I had a lot of trust in him. I knew he wasn’t going to let anything by him. I just had to throw strikes.”
Rutland did get one baserunner on a ball to the backstop on a called third strike in the top of the second. Aside from that, the visitors were able to put just two balls in play against Barry: a ground ball to short and a leadoff single in the top of the fourth.
“He did a great job,” Pittsfield Manager Ty Perrault said. “He got us going. He hit a home run right out of the chute, and he did a great job with his 50-pitch limit. He got us into the fourth inning. You can’t ask for anything more than that.
“He was right around the plate. He’s been that way all week. So we were feeling good about starting him.”
Cam Blake came on to retire the last two outs in the fourth to strand the inherited baserunner at first. He ended up striking out a pair in an inning of work.
In the fifth, Sebastian Herrera retired a pair of hitters on strikeouts around allowing a one-out single that got Rutland within three runs at 4-1. Kevin Konefal came on to pitch the sixth; he stranded runners at the corners to end the game on -- what else? -- a strikeout.
Pittsfield’s offense capitalized on the boost it got from Barry’s leadoff homer by generating two more runs in the first to take a 3-0 lead.
Herrera and Konefal each worked a walk. A passed ball moved both into scoring position, and another ball to the backstop scored both runners thanks to an errant throw to the plate to try to catch Herrera.
In the second, Barry worked a one-out walk, moved up on a groundout by Blake and scored on Herrera’s RBI single.
After Rutland scored in the top of the fifth, the Pittsfield Americans answered with four more in the bottom of the frame.
Robby Bazinet, Dakota Moore and Sam Gyurjian each had an RBI during that rally.
Pittsfield will look to stay in the winners’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament on Thursday when it travels to Longmeadow.
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