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Post 81 dumps Pittsfield

  • Above, Greenfield Post 81 baserunner Luke Viens slides safely into first base ahead of the throw in the bottom of the fourth inning against Pittsfield Post 68 Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield, where Post 81 earned a 7-4 win. Below, starting and winning pitcher Joel Peabody delivers a pitch. Recorder photos/Dan Little

  • Above, Greenfield batter Connor Waitkus drives in a run in the bottom of the fourth inning of Post 81’s 7-4 win over Pittsfield Post 68 Tuesday in Greenfield. Below, pitcher Joel Peabody releases a pitch. Recorder PHOTOS/Dan Little

  • Greenfield post 81 pitcher Joel Peabody throws against Pittsfield Post 68 in the top of the second inning Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Greenfield Post 81 right fielder Connor Waitkus pulls in a fly ball for the last out in the top of the fourth inning against Pittsfield Post 68 Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Greenfield Post 81 pitcher Joel Peabody throws against Pittsfield Post 68 in the top of the fifth inning Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Greenfield Post 81 pitcher Joel Peabody throws against Pittsfield Post 68 in the top of the second inning Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Dan Little



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A matchup of first-place teams, Tuesday night’s American Legion Baseball Senior Division game between Greenfield Post 81 and Pittsfield Post 68 certainly lived up to its billing.

Host Greenfield came alive in the fourth inning, padded its lead in the sixth and held on in the final frame despite some Pittsfield pressure to capture a satisfying 7-4 victory under the lights at Veterans Memorial Field.

Post 81 improved to 11-3-1 with the win, staying atop the Zone B standings in the process and clinching a first-round postseason bye as a result. Pittsfield, the first-place team in Zone A, fell to 12-3.

“I told the guys, these are the teams that you’re going to have to beat to advance in the tournament so they were really up for it,” offered Post 81 manager Kyle Phelps of the win. “Our goal was to get that first-round bye, which we got. Now our next goal is to win our zone.”

Pittsfield led 1-0 until the fourth inning, when Greenfield finally got the big hit it had been looking for with two outs. With Adam Hallenbeck (single) and Ben Arnold (walk) on second and third, catcher Colin Cloutier roped a two-run single to give the hosts their first lead of the night, 2-1.

“Colin came through with that big hit and that got us going the rest of the game,” lauded Phelps.

Post 81 wasn’t done, however. Kalen Evans walked, and Luke Viens reached on an infield single that plated Cloutier for another run. Connor Waitkus also reached on an infield single later in the frame that scored Evans for a 4-1 advantage.

Pittsfield cut into the deficit with a run in the sixth to make it 4-2, but Greenfield answered with a big home half of the inning to regain control. Cloutier singled, Evans walked, and Viens beat out a bunt single. An error on the play enabled Cloutier to come home for a 5-2 advantage. With Evans on third and Viens on second, both runners scampered home on a Pittsfield passed ball to extend things to 7-2. Viens ran hard the whole way from second, scoring on an impressive play.

Post 68 didn’t go away quietly. Evans walked the first two batters in the top of the seventh, and a bunt single loaded the bases with no outs. The visitors scored twice on an error by Waitkus in right field, pulling within 7-4 with still no one out. Waitkus redeemed himself in a big way, however, as he hauled in an out one batter later, and gunned the runner out at home trying to tag up for a sacrifice fly. Cloutier’s nifty tag quickly shifted the momentum back to Post 81. Pittsfield made the game’s final out on a liner to left field.

“I was proud of him, he didn’t hang his head and was ready for the next play,” offered Phelps of Waitkus. “He made a great throw and Colin made a great tag.”

Joel Peabody earned the victory on the mound for Post 81. The right-hander struck out eight in 5 ⅓1/3 innings, allowing just a pair of unearned runs before Arnold and Evans closed it out.

“Joel gave us a great start; he pitched well, kept them off balance the whole day,” said Phelps. “(Pittsfield is) a good team but our guys stayed with it. After the top of the fourth, I reminded them that Joel was pitching a great game and we needed to pick him up.”

Pittsfield High School’s Carter Mathews suffered the loss, walking four and striking out one in 4 2/3 innings of work. Greenfield held an 8-5 edge in hits, with Cloutier and Viens recording multiple hits in the win.

Greenfield has three regular-season games remaining, beginning tonight when it hosts Monson at 7. The slate wraps up Friday against Northampton and Saturday against Easthampton.

“The last couple weeks, the guys have really started to come together as a team,” explained Phelps. “They’ve really been playing for each other.”

Greenfield is three points ahead of second-place Northampton (10-5) in the Zone B standings after Northampton’s 14-4 loss to Wilbraham Red on Tuesday.