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Indians do little things to beat Athol, 5-1

The formula for winning baseball games may look something like this: Start with some solid pitching, add in a pinch of defense and finish with a couple timely hits.

That’s exactly what Turners Falls High School got on Friday night as the Indians avenged an early-season loss to Athol High School with a 5-1 independent baseball win under the lights in the Powertown.

Turners Falls pitcher Zach Wright pounded the strike zone against the Red Raiders, finishing with four strikeouts against five hits and two walks. While Wright was not overpowering hitters, he was throwing strikes and doing exactly what Turners Falls coach Jay Liimatainen wanted.

“He did exactly what we needed him to do,” the coach explained. “He got 12 ground ball outs. He was ahead in the count all game long so he was able to work the plate.”

When the Red Raiders (2-5) did put the bat on the ball the Turners Falls defense was busy making plays behind Wright. The Indians turned a double play in the second inning as part of a double-rundown, and when Athol was attempting to come back in the sixth inning, second baseman Alex Carlisle may have made the play of the game with a diving stop.

“We made a couple huge defensive plays,” Liimatainen said. “Alex made that huge diving play, and Zach (Wright) also made some nice plays with balls hit back to him.”

The game remained scoreless until the fourth inning when the Indians (5-3) finally got to Athol pitcher Jamie Posk, who pitched very well in the loss, striking out nine and allowing five hits and five walks in six innings. Posk faced the minimum amount of batters through the first three innings and then got the first out of the fourth before running into trouble when he walked No. 2 hitter Jalen Sanders. Sanders went to second base on an errant pickoff throw from Posk, and scored when Turners’ best hitter, Brody Markol, hit a hard ground ball toward short that took a favorable hop off the infield grass over Athol shortstop Brad Bousquet and sprayed into left field for a single. Markol went to second on the throw home, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored when Nick York hit a ground ball that bounced off the third base bag for an RBI infield single.

The Indians added two more runs in the fifth inning on a two-run single from Markol, and then got one more run in the sixth as York was hit by a pitch and later scored on a groundout by Wright.

Athol got the first two runners on in the sixth inning but Wright pitched out of the jam without giving up a run. In the seventh, Wright allowed the first three batters to reach, including an RBI double from Athol’s Kevin Hume, before Liimatainen turned the ball over to Quinn Doyle. The Indian reliever struck out Andrew Poor for the first out of the inning and then got two more quick outs to close out the game.

Athol takes on Easthampton High School on Monday, while Turners Falls hosts South Hadley High School Tuesday night at 7.

Maynard 5, Frontier 2 — Tom Geiger pitched a two-hitter on Friday afternoon and Maynard High School knocked off Frontier Regional School, 5-2, in an independent baseball game at Valiton Field in South Deerfield.

Geiger allowed a single to Sean Doyle and a double to Ben Ruddock in the complete-game victory, giving up single runs in the first and sixth innings. He finished with five strikeouts and two walks on the day.

The Maynard offense gave him all the support he needed in the second inning with a five-run effort. The big hit of the inning came off the bat of Rob Oliphant, who drilled a bases-loaded triple to plate three runs in the frame. Tyler Cedeno added an RBI single in the inning, and Brian Dyer hit an RBI groundout.

Matt Ackerman suffered the loss for Frontier, striking out three and walking two in four innings. Khalil Taylor struck out two and did not walk a batter in three innings of relief. The two pitchers allowed just five hits in the loss.

Brandon Bryant drove in Doyle on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, while Ackerman recorded an RBI on a groundout in the sixth to score Doyle.

Frontier (3-5) hosts Belchertown High School on Monday.

Mahar 12, FC Tech 2 — Logan Barrett blasted a pair of three-run home runs to highlight the Mahar Regional School offense on Friday afternoon during a 12-2 independent baseball victory over Franklin County Technical School in Orange.

The Eagles took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Ethan Wickline smacked an RBI triple and scored on a wild pitch, but the Senators came back with four runs in the bottom of the frame to take the lead for good. Three of those runs came when Barrett sent an offering from Franklin Tech pitcher Joey Barcomb over the wall in dead center to score three runs. Cody Marshall added an RBI single in the frame.

Mahar added single runs to its lead in each of the next three innings to push the advantage to 7-2 and the Senators closed things out with five runs in the fifth inning, including three more on Barrett’s second home run of the day, this one to left-center field. Barrett finished with three hits and six RBIs on the day, while Brendin Woodard collected a team-high four hits and drove in a run. Zack Adams singled and doubled and drove in a run, Marshall and Hunter Richardson each chipped in two hits and one RBI.

Nate Crocker finished with two hits and two stole bases for the Eagles. Barcomb struck out two and walked one in 4 1-3 innings in the loss. Mitch Mailloux struck out two and walked two in 1 2-3 innings of relief.

Richardson earned the win, striking out six and walking one in five innings. Austin Leary struck out two and walked one in two innings of scoreless relief.

Girls’ tennis

Greenfield 4, Turners Falls 1 — Greenfield High School swept its way through the singles matches and defeated Turners Falls High School, 4-1, in a Tri-County League North Division girls’ tennis match Friday afternoon in Turners Falls.

Greenfield’s Alexis Silk and Turners Falls’ Sara Bradley played a competitive match at first singles with Silk defeating an ailing Bradley, 6-1, 6-2. Bradley was playing with a leg injury and Turners Falls coach Vic Gonzalez said he was proud of his player for battling.

“She fought her way through it,” he said. “It was a good match and she may have done even better if she had two legs.”

Manisha Malik earned the point at second singles for the Green Wave with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Kortney Thurber, and Courtney Kimball finished off the sweep at singles with a 6-1, 6-0 triumph over Melanie Brown at third singles.

Greenfield’s fourth point of the day came at second doubles where Alli Rowe and Olivia Katsoulis defeated Jade Linscott and Hailey Trott, 6-3, 6-1. The Green Wave remained unbeaten on the season at 3-0 and sits atop the TCL North Division.

Turners Falls’ (2-2 overall, 1-2 North) lone point came at first singles where the team of Kelly Rehorka and Alysha Wozniak beat Cheyenna Woodard and Eugenia Cocojaru, 6-3, 6-1.

Boys’ volleyball

Athol 3, Holyoke 0 — Tyler Lajoie finished with nine kills, 10 assists and one block and Athol High School picked up a 25-17, 25-10, 25-19 independent boys’ volleyball victory over Holyoke High School Friday afternoon in Holyoke.

Wyatt Doiron-LaRue recorded five kills, three blocks and a team-high 23 digs for the Red Raiders (6-3), and Eric Aikey added five kills, two aces and one block. Beau Guimond chipped in four kills and one block, and Lorenzo Carra won 17 service points and added 12 assists.

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