Post 81 rolls, earns playoff bye
Greenfield Post 81 knew the situation — win Saturday afternoon, get the next three days off — and took care of business rather quickly.
Post 81 shook off a slow start as it scored four runs in the first, two more in the third and broke it open with seven in the fourth as it rolled to a 41/ 2-inning, 13-1 victory over West Springfield Post 207 in their Hampden County American Legion Baseball regular season finale at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield.
With the win, Greenfield (14-4) earned a first- and second-round bye in the Western Massachusetts District Playoffs and advances to third round — a two-bracket, double-elimination tournament that begins Wednesday. Post 81 drew the fourth seed and was placed in Bracket A with top-seeded Aldenville. The local nine will be joined by the fifth and eighth seeds, which will be determined tonight.
West Springfield grabbed a 1-0 lead on Nick Dombkowski’s RBI double, but Greenfield bounced right back in the bottom of the frame when Brody Markol smoked a two-run single, Jourdan York-Welcome added a run-scoring single and Sam Downes hit a sacrifice fly to give the hosts a 4-1 lead.
Post 81 made it 6-1 in the third when Nick York smacked an RBI single and a passed ball allowed another run to score.
In the fourth, Andrew Doty’s two-run single opened the floodgates, as Downes ripped an RBI single, York and York-Welcome both drew bases-loaded walks and Niko Ames rapped a single to drive in a run. Greenfield scored its other run on another passed ball.
Ames finished with three of Post 81’s 12 hits and stole three bases. Markol and Luke Bakker each added two hits.
Ben Ruddock struck out three and walked one in four innings of work to earn the win.
Couture, the starting and losing pitcher, had two of West Side’s three hits.
“Our goal was to finish in the top four (overall) and get those two byes,” said Post 81 head coach Tim Capuano. “It was perfect timing. We’ve struggled all year to hit, and everyone’s clicking now. We’re getting on top of the ball and hitting with some authority. We’ll spend a few days in the batting cage and see if we can keep it up.”
Greenfield will host its first playoff game Wednesday night at 7:15. If all the higher seeds win during the first two rounds, its opponent would be Ludlow Post 52.
Manny’s 11, Longmeadow 6
Wilbraham 4, Manny’s 0 — Manny’s TV & Appliance Center inched closer to securing the No. 2 seed in the playoffs after it split a doubleheader in Tri-County League men’s amateur baseball action Sunday at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield.
Manny’s rode a late rally to beat the Longmeadow Warriors, 11-6, in the opener, but were blanked by Wilbraham Funeral Home in the nightcap.
Longmeadow broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth with a run, then tacked on a four-spot in the fifth to build a 6-1 lead, but its defense imploded and Manny’s used Greg Vouros’ two-run single to spark a six-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to take a 7-6 lead. Austin Finck drew a bases-loaded walk, Steffen Herter plated a run after getting hit by a pitch, and Manny’s also scored on a wild pitch and an error.
Manny’s put up four more insurance runs in the sixth, courtesy of Finck RBI grounder, which resulted in him reaching on an error, another miscue that pushed across two runs and Eric Libardoni’s sacrifice fly.
Vouros (who drove in three runs), Soren Penz-Walsh and Garrett Hudson all finished with two hits for Manny’s which was outhit 13-10.
Sawyer Olson got the final out of the fifth and earned the win in relief of Finck. Colin Dudunake pitched the final two innings to pick up the save.
• In the nightcap, John Russell spun a three-hitter but continually recovered from wildness to help the Undertakers shut out Manny’s.
Wilbraham (9-5-2) scored all of its runs in the fourth. Zach Bombard and Brady Forrest started it with back-to-back singles, then Kevin Baker stroked an RBI single to plate Bombard and put runners at the corners. After Baker stole second, Brett Bohl ripped a single to left that extended the lead to 3-0. He later scored on scored on Josh Lajoie’s sac fly.
Russell’s issues with location gave Manny’s (15-3-1) two big chances to score. In the first, Libardoni singled, Soren Pelz-Walsh was awarded first on catcher’s interference and Dusty Mones walked to load the bases with no outs, but Russell got Bryan Adamski to ground into a force and Hudson to ground into a inning-ending, 5-2-3 double play.
Manny’s again loaded the bases in the fifth when Russell loaded the bases with one out, but Libardoni was forced on a questionable call at the plate on Adamski’s grounder and Hudson hit into another force to end the threat.
Bombard finished with two of Wilbraham’s six hits, while Libardoni had two hits for Manny’s.
Russell struck out three and walked nine. Losing hurler Devin Rhodes had two strikeouts, one walks and allowed six hits.
Manny’s and Wilbraham meet again today at 5:45 p.m. at Farrell Field in Wilbraham.
Teddy Bear 6, Sampson 1 — Sam Tillona tossed 5 2/ 3 innings of no-hit ball and Teddy Bear Pools too advantage of six Sampson Chapels errors to post a 6-1 TCL baseball victory Saturday afternoon at Van Horn Park in Springfield.
Tillona finished with a three-hitter. He recorded eight strikeouts and five walks.
Teddy Bear (10-8) scored single runs in the first and third innings, then took control with threwe in the fourth. Tom Malooly and Clayton Beaulieu were both hit by a pitch, Brad Bean walked, then Justin Carey’s two-out popup was dropped, allowing Malooly and Beaulieu to score. Bean then stole home on a delayed double steal with Carey to make it 5-0. The Poolmen added one more in the seventh.
Adam Kozlik broke up Tillona’s shutout bid with a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh.
Malooly had two hits and Beaulieu the other for Teddy Bear, which hosts Dream Bats tonight at 5:45 p.m.