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Turners Falls moves to finals, 3-0

  • Turners Falls starting and winning pitcher Quinn Doyle comes at a Smith Academy hitter Thursday night at Veterans Field in Greenfield, where his Indians beat the Falcons from Hatfield, 3-0, in their WMass Division IV Baseball Tournament semifinal.<br/>Recorder/Paul Franz

    Turners Falls starting and winning pitcher Quinn Doyle comes at a Smith Academy hitter Thursday night at Veterans Field in Greenfield, where his Indians beat the Falcons from Hatfield, 3-0, in their WMass Division IV Baseball Tournament semifinal.
    Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls infielder Zach Demers gets the out at second and prepares to gun the relay to first for a twin-killing Thursday night at Vets Field in Greenfield.<br/>Recorder/Paul Franz

    Turners Falls infielder Zach Demers gets the out at second and prepares to gun the relay to first for a twin-killing Thursday night at Vets Field in Greenfield.
    Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls base-stealer Marcel Ortiz beats the throw to second base Thursday night at Veterans Field in Greenfield, where his Indians beat Smith Academy, 3-0, in their WMass Division IV Baseball Tournament semifinal game.<br/>Recorder/Paul Franz

    Turners Falls base-stealer Marcel Ortiz beats the throw to second base Thursday night at Veterans Field in Greenfield, where his Indians beat Smith Academy, 3-0, in their WMass Division IV Baseball Tournament semifinal game.
    Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls starting and winning pitcher Quinn Doyle comes at a Smith Academy hitter Thursday night at Veterans Field in Greenfield, where his Indians beat the Falcons from Hatfield, 3-0, in their WMass Division IV Baseball Tournament semifinal.<br/>Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Turners Falls infielder Zach Demers gets the out at second and prepares to gun the relay to first for a twin-killing Thursday night at Vets Field in Greenfield.<br/>Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Turners Falls base-stealer Marcel Ortiz beats the throw to second base Thursday night at Veterans Field in Greenfield, where his Indians beat Smith Academy, 3-0, in their WMass Division IV Baseball Tournament semifinal game.<br/>Recorder/Paul Franz

GREENFIELD — Tyler Charboneau was facing every pitcher’s worst nightmare when he entered the game in the top of the sixth inning.

The Turners Falls High School senior was coming in with nobody out and the bases loaded with his fifth-seeded Indians clinging to a 3-0 lead in the WMass Division IV Baseball Tournament semifinals against Hampshire League rival and top-seed Smith Academy. Charboneau responded to the challenge by striking out the side to protect the lead and then punched out two more batters in the seventh inning, including Falcons’ cleanup hitter David Longstreeth for the final out of the game, as the Indians advanced to Saturday’s championship game with a 3-0 victory at Veterans Memorial Field.

The Indians (12-11) will take on another familiar foe at 10:30 a.m. at Earl Lorden Field at UMass, when they take on HL West foe Hopkins Academy for the first-ever WMass Division IV title.

“Why not us,” said Indian catcher Brody Markol as he celebrated after the game. “We said that before the season and they are taking that to heart. We are playing with some heart and some passion and we want this championship bad.”

It was Charboneau who gave the Indians the lead in the fifth inning with his two-out RBI single to break open a scoreless game, and it was again him who was tasked to protect it. He entered after David Longstreeth (walk), Keith Natale (single) and Tony Pedruczny (error) reached to load the bases for the Falcons and put the tying run on first base. Charboneau began with No. 7 hitter Kevin Banas, who he struck out looking, and then got Cam Woodward (swinging) and Chirstian Smiarowski (looking) to end the inning.

“Coach said that if we were in a jam I was coming in so I was ready,” Charboneau said. “I felt good. After I got that first strikeout the whole team was pumped up and the fans were pumped up and that really helps me out on the mound.”

In two innings of hitless and scoreless work, Charboneau struck out five batters and walked one to earn the save.

Charboneau was brought into the game in the sixth inning to relieve starter Quinn Doyle, a southpaw freshman, who gutted his way through the first five-plus innings for the Indians. Doyle was thrust into action after Turners’ top two starters Charboneau and Nick York, both had to pitch on Monday during the Indians’ 12-inning quarterfinal win over Granby High School. Doyle gave the Indians everything he had, and held the top-seeded Falcons scoreless through five innings, finishing with three strikeouts and four walks.

“We didn’t know who we were going to throw but I knew that I could throw Quinn out there and he’s not going to hurt me,” Turners Falls coach Jay Liimatainen said. “That’s what he did. He got into some jams but he just stays composed and got the job done.”

Turners Falls scored all three of its runs in the fifth inning and did so in typical Indian fashion. The team has not been confused for any sort of offensive juggernaut, but the players have managed to take advantage of their opportunities. That was again the case Thursday, as Turners Falls wound up scoring three runs on just five hits.

Emmett Turn (two hits) got things started in the fifth by stroking a one-out single and moved to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Smith Academy elected to intentionally walk Turners No. 3 hitter Brody Markol to get to Charboneau, who was 1-for-2 to that point in the game. Charboneau lined an RBI single to left-center to score Turn from second, and Markol got on his horse and beat the throw to reach third base. Charboneau took second when the throw went to third and it turned out to be a huge play. The Falcons removed starting pitcher Kevin Banas at that point in favor of ace David Longstreeth to try and get out of the jam. Longstreeth did eventually strike out Jalen Sanders for the final out of the inning, but it came after he uncorked a pair of wild pitches, allowing both Markol and Charboneau to score insurance runs.

Banas pitched well in the loss, striking out nine and walking two. Keith Natale (two hits including a double) pitched two scoreless innings of relief, striking out four and walking one.

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