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Granby derails Turners

TURNERS FALLS — It was only fitting that a pitcher’s duel would be decided by a pitcher.

Granby High School starter Travis Padgett hit a two-out RBI single up the middle in the top of the sixth inning to plate the only run of the game and help the 11th-seeded Rams to a 1-0 decision over sixth-seeded Turners Falls High School in WMass Division III first round baseball action at the Bourdeau Fields Complex on Thursday.

The game had the makings of a 1-0 finish from the onset. Turners Falls starter Brandon Lenois did not allow a baserunner through the first three innings. Granby (15-6) broke up the perfect-game bid with two outs in the fourth when Brett Sullivan blooped a single to right. Lenois would allow only six baserunners all game, giving up four hits and two walks, while striking out one.

“We got exactly what we wanted out of Brandon today,” Turners coach Jay Liimatainen said. “He kept us in the game, but you’ve got to score to win.”

His counterpart, Padgett, continually worked around jams to keep the Indians (14-7) off the board. Turners Falls got the lead runner aboard in each of the first six innings, but Padgett worked around the runners, and wound up stranding eight Indian runners on the day, including three at third base. Padgett also got stronger as the game wore on. The hurler allowed three walks and one hit in the first two innings but settled down and walked just two more the rest of the way. While he did walk five on the day, he allowed just five hits and struck out five.

“He’s only started three times for us this year,” Granby coach Jim Woods said. “He usually starts off slow, so I give him a little leeway. But he got out of the first inning and got into a groove. He’s a heady guy, he can pick guys off, knows the game well, knows when to step off the mound. He does a lot of the little things well.”

Padgett, also the cleanup hitter for the Rams, then helped himself out in the sixth inning. Leadoff hitter Jake Whitacre singled to start the inning and stole second with Noah Parent at the plate. That stolen base proved to be huge when Parent drove a fly ball to center field, deep enough for Whitacre to tag up and move to third with one out. Lenois looked like he might get out of the jam when he got Brett Sullivan to pop out to second for the second out of the frame, but Padgett rescued the Rams when he lined a 2-2 pitch up the middle to plate Whitacre.

“He’s our No. 4 guy, he’s our best hitter, he understands a good approach to hitting,” Woods said. “He did a nice job that time. He kept his hands back with two strikes, reached out and drove the ball up the middle.”

The Indians had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth when Kramer Patenaude worked a leadoff walk and got to third with two outs. Padgett came back to get Dan McCormack to fly out to left end the threat. In the seventh, Padgett got the first two outs but Indian leadoff hitter Marcel Ortiz, who had given Padgett fits with a pair of hits in three at bats to that point, made it a three-hit day for himself when he lined a double to left. Ortiz was nearly thrown out at second on the play, but managed to slide around the tag.

That brought up Brody Markol, who got a hold of a pitch down the middle of the plate and roped a screamer back up the middle. But it was hit right at Padgett, who was in perfect defensive position following his delivery and he snared the ball for the final out of the game.

“That’s why any baseball team can win on any given day,” Liimatainen said. “We hit a lot of hard balls, we just hit them at people, and that last out was the perfect example. We just were not finding the holes. That’s how it works out sometimes.”

Turners’ best chance to score on the day came in the bottom of the fifth when the game was still scoreless. Mike Conant led off with a double to left and moved to third on Wyatt Bourbeau’s groundout to short. Ortiz then lined a shot to deep center, but Conant started for home on the play and was unable to get back to third base in time to tag up and score when Granby center fielder Parent caught Ortiz’s liner. It was one of a number of baserunning issues on the day for the Indians. In the second, Tyler Charboneau was thrown out at home for the final out of the inning when a ball got by Granby catcher Whitacre, but not far enough as Whitacre flipped to Padgett, who was covering home, and easily got Charboneau at the plate. Ortiz also got picked off first base with nobody out in the third after leading off the inning with a single.

“Little mistakes in tournament games can cost you,” Liimatainen said.

Granby advances to take on another Hampshire League opponent on Monday, when it travels to South Deerfield to take on third-seeded Frontier Regional School at 4.

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