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Ames keeps Post 81 alive, 4-1

  • Greenfield Post 81 second baseman Brody Markol gets the force out at second and attempts to complete a twin-killing against Taunton Wednesday afternoon at Feeley Field in Sudbury.<br/>Special to The Recorder/Jane K. Ames

    Greenfield Post 81 second baseman Brody Markol gets the force out at second and attempts to complete a twin-killing against Taunton Wednesday afternoon at Feeley Field in Sudbury.
    Special to The Recorder/Jane K. Ames

  • Greenfield Post 81 starter and winner Ben Ruddock releases a pitch to a Taunton batter Wednesday afternoon at Feeley Field in Sudbury, where Greenfield scored late to pull out a 4-1 win and advance at the state American Legion Baseball championship tourney.<br/>Special to The Recorder/Jane K. Ames

    Greenfield Post 81 starter and winner Ben Ruddock releases a pitch to a Taunton batter Wednesday afternoon at Feeley Field in Sudbury, where Greenfield scored late to pull out a 4-1 win and advance at the state American Legion Baseball championship tourney.
    Special to The Recorder/Jane K. Ames

  • Eventual Greenfield Post 81 hero Niko Ames — who belted a dramatic, base-clearing, bases-loaded double in the eighth inning to clinch it for Greenfield — lays down a successful sacrifice bunt earlier during his team's 4-1 win Wednesday afternoon at the state American Legion Baseball championship tournament at Feeley Field in Sudbury.<br/>Special to The Recorder/Jane K. Ames

    Eventual Greenfield Post 81 hero Niko Ames — who belted a dramatic, base-clearing, bases-loaded double in the eighth inning to clinch it for Greenfield — lays down a successful sacrifice bunt earlier during his team's 4-1 win Wednesday afternoon at the state American Legion Baseball championship tournament at Feeley Field in Sudbury.
    Special to The Recorder/Jane K. Ames

  • Greenfield Post 81 second baseman Brody Markol gets the force out at second and attempts to complete a twin-killing against Taunton Wednesday afternoon at Feeley Field in Sudbury.<br/>Special to The Recorder/Jane K. Ames
  • Greenfield Post 81 starter and winner Ben Ruddock releases a pitch to a Taunton batter Wednesday afternoon at Feeley Field in Sudbury, where Greenfield scored late to pull out a 4-1 win and advance at the state American Legion Baseball championship tourney.<br/>Special to The Recorder/Jane K. Ames
  • Eventual Greenfield Post 81 hero Niko Ames — who belted a dramatic, base-clearing, bases-loaded double in the eighth inning to clinch it for Greenfield — lays down a successful sacrifice bunt earlier during his team's 4-1 win Wednesday afternoon at the state American Legion Baseball championship tournament at Feeley Field in Sudbury.<br/>Special to The Recorder/Jane K. Ames

SUDBURY — In a game of missed opportunities to score runs for Greenfield Post 81, Niko Ames came through when it counted.

The Post 81 shortstop blasted a two-out, bases-clearing double with the bags full in the top of the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie and Greenfield survived to play another day with a 4-1 win over Taunton Post 103 Wednesday afternoon in the Massachusetts American Legion Baseball State Department Championship tournament at Frank Feeley Field.

Greenfield remains alive in the double-elimination tournament and will play again today at 4:30 right back at Feeley Field versus Newburyport Post 150.

Greenfield had left 10 runners on base going into the eighth inning, squandering numerous opportunities to make things easier on starter Ben Ruddock, who was working on just four days rest after pitching all nine innings of a 7-5 win over Kingston Post 387 in the state-tourney opener Saturday.

Things got tense again in the eighth inning even though Greenfield had loaded the bases with less than one out. Brody Markol led off with a walk before Tyler Charboneau flew out to shallow center. Jourdan York-Welcome lined a sharp single past second base, and Jake Elwell worked a walk to load the bases. That brought up the top of the order, which should have been Mark Buck, but the leadoff hitter was battling a foot injury and had to be replaced in the lineup. Greenfield coach Tim Capuano sent pinch-hitter John Deskavich to the dish, but he struck out looking for the second out of the inning. The at-bat included a questionable strike call on what appeared to be a check swing for strike two, and Deskavich was rung up on the next pitch. That brought Ames to the plate, who had been 0-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt to that point. Ames managed to get ahead in the count 2-1 and he swung on the fourth pitch, lining one to the gap in deep right-center to clear the bases.

“I didn’t really play my best game to that point,” Ames said of the at-bat. “It was my second opportunity to bring home some runs, so it felt good to come through for the team. I was just hoping to get my bat on something and the ball picked a good place to land.”

Greenfield entered the game less than 24 hours after its first postseason loss to break a 12-game winning streak. The team responded by sending ace Ruddock to the bump, and the tall righthander took the ball just four days after winning Post 81’s state opener. Ruddock was dominant, allowing just one walk and three hits over seven innings, while striking out eight, including at least one Taunton batter in every inning.

“I felt good,” Ruddock said, referring to the short rest. “I knew I didn’t have another nine innings in me, but once you get into the game, the adrenaline kicks in and you don’t really feel your arm getting sore, or yourself getting tired. But I knew when I had to come out.”

Ruddock is now 4-0 in the postseason and has been perhaps one of the most dominant Legion pitchers in the state over the past three weeks.

“Once I started getting those regular starts, I just got into it,” he said. “All your stuff should be on, and if it’s not, then you have to work through it. I’ve been lucky enough that all my pitches have been working and the team has had my back, getting those big hits and playing good defense behind me.”

Although the Greenfield bats have been producing throughout much of the postseason, the past two days have been quiet. Greenfield managed just four hits and one run in an 11-1 loss to Milford Tuesday, and against Taunton lefty Sam Devine, Post 81 was able to rack up eight hits while working five walks and his 7 2/ 3 innings, but the team continually left men on base, including two in four of the first six innings. Greenfield took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Buck reached on an error by Taunton third baseman Matt Cassese and later scored on Luke Bakker’s (two hits) RBI single to left-center.

Greenfield wound up leaving two men on base in that inning and had another glorious opportunity to add to the lead in the fourth inning when Markol and Charboneau were each hit by pitches to lead off the frame. York-Welcome lined a hard shot to left field that was snagged for the first out, and Greenfield wound up going quietly. In the fifth, Liam Datres de la Blotier hit a one-out single and went to third on Sam Downes’ (two hits) two-out double to deep right-center. The inning ended when Markol grounded out to second base.

That left the door open for Taunton, which had been held hitless through four innings yet trailed only 1-0. In the fifth, Taunton finally got a hit when Robbie Robinson singled and stole second base. He scored when Tanner Mead singled to center.

Ruddock wiggled out of the inning, though, and allowed just one more hit through his seven innings of work. Charboneau came on and worked a scoreless eighth inning and Downes was brought in to close out the ninth. Downes did walk his first batter, Cassese, but promptly eliminated the base runner when he caught Cassese napping and picked him off first base. A two-out error did extend the inning, but Downes got Zach Bowden to fly out to center for the final out of the game and earned the save.

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