LONGMEADOW, Mass. – The Longmeadow Little League 11-year-old All-Stars Tuesday pounded out 12 hits in three innings to earn a 17-3 win over the Pittsfield Americans in the Section 1 Championship Game at Strople Field.
The host and designated home team did most of its damage in the second inning, when it sent 15 hitters to the plate and scored 10 runs to build a commanding 15-1 advantage.
The win gave Longmeadow two victories in three days over the Americans to come out of the losers bracket and win the double-elmination tournament and a berth in next week’s state championship bracket.
“Hats off to that team,” Pittsfield Manager B.J. Jefferson said. “They came to play. … Everything, they were clean. Right from their pitching to every ball they swung at, they barrelled up and hit hard.
“I don’t know where it came from. The last two games we played them, it wasn’t like that. But they must have just seen the ball well down here.”
Timmy Wright and Nick Reyngold started the bottom of the first with back-to-back hits for Longmeadow, which got a three-run triple from Teddy Craft in a five-run inning.
Pittsfield American got a lift to start the second when Bryce Hoff crushed a 2-1 pitch over the center field fence for a solo home run.
But Craft settled down and allowed just a one-out walk the rest of the inning to preserve his two-run cushion.
His offense rewarded him with seven hits – including Sam Newton’s two-run homer to left and Jack Walker’s two-run triple – in the bottom of the second.
In the third, Kydd Kearns worked a leadoff walk for the Americans and moved to second on Oren Lewis’ single to center field.
But Longmeadow’s defense turned a 6-4-3 double play that poured water on the fire and left Pittsfield with a runner on third and two out.
Matt Keegan drove in Kearns with a single down the third-base line, and he eventually scored when Brodie McCormack was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 15-3.
Craft notched his fourth strikeout of the game to leave ‘em loaded and send his team to the dugout with a chance to put the game away with a 15-run lead after three.
Pittsfield American reliever Jacob Welch made sure that did not happen, allowing two runs but leaving a runner on base with a called third strike to keep his team’s slim hopes alive.
But despite a one-out double from Kearns, the Americans could not get anything going against Longmeadow reliever Matt Dunnirvine. The game ended, appropriately enough, on a sterling play by Longmeadow’s second baseman on a line drive from Cooper Reed.
Sunday’s loss to Longmeadow was a rarity for this group of Americans, largely intact from the team that won a 10-year-old State Championship last summer. Jefferson Tuesday could not have been more proud of the effort he got from the team.
“I have 10 out of my returning 15 from last year,” he said. “It meant a lot for them to try to get back to that state final. Unfortunately, the baseball gods weren’t with us today. But they came to practice. They worked hard. They shouldn’t have anything to hang their heads about, by any means.
“It just wasn’t their day. It was absolutely crazy. I haven’t ever seen a team hit like that – consistently, one through nine. … But it’s nothing our kids should hang their heads about. We had a good run. And we’ll put together a team next year.”
RUTLAND, Mass. – The Pittsfield Little League American Division 12-year-old All-Stars opened Section 1 tournament play with a 7-2 win over Rutland on Tuesday night.
The Americans go back on the road on Wednesday to face District 3 champion Leominster.
A win on Wednesday sends Pittsfield American to the championship round of the double-elimination sectional tournament and a home game on Friday at Deming Park. A loss on Wednesday, and Pittsfield is home on Thursday in an elimination bracket game.
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