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Post 81 stays in the hunt

Garrett Hudson spun a gem on the hill Tuesday night as Greenfield Post 81 continued its push toward a spot in the American Legion National Bound Tournament with a 7-1 win over host Amherst at Ziomek Field.

Greenfield, which currently sits in third place in the overall standings, needs help if it is going to get back to the National Bound Tournament, which takes the top two teams from the Western District. Westfield currently sits in front of Greenfield in the standings and Post 81 did not receive any help from Northampton Tuesday night when it dropped a 4-2 decision to Westfield. Greenfield needs Westfield to lose two of its final three games to have any shot.

Post 81 (9-3) did its part to keep its hopes alive as Hudson struck out 13 and walked just one in the four-hitter.

Greenfield scored six times in the first four innings to take a 6-1 lead. It took a 2-0 lead in the first on Hudson’s RBI ground-out and an Amherst throwing error. Then Liam Datres de la Blotier brought home the third run on a second-inning sacrifice fly.

After Amherst scored its only run in the second, Post 81 extended its lead to 5-1 in the third, as Tyler Charboneau drove in one of the runs with an RBI single.

Datres de la Blotier, who had two of Greenfield’s eight hits, smacked a double in the sixth to plate the final Post 81 run.

Greenfield returns to action on Thursday at Agawam Post 185 at 11 a.m.

Tri-County League

DiFranco 6, Manny’s 5 — Manny’s TV & Appliance scored four times in the top of the sixth inning to come back from a 5-1 deficit, but DiFranco Realty answered with the game-winner in the bottom of the sixth to earn a 6-5 victory in a Tri-County League baseball game Tuesday night at East Longmeadow High School.

DiFranco (8-3) watched as Manny’s erased a four-run deficit with a pair of two-run, two-out hits in the sixth inning to tie the game, but the hosts came right back in the bottom of the frame with the go-ahead run to earn the win. Dan McGuill started the bottom of the sixth with a one-out single and went to third on a Mike Corletta single. That brought Nick Gezotis to the plate and Gezotis had already done plenty of damage against Manny’s on the night when he belted a grand slam in the second inning that gave DiFranco the 5-1 lead at the time. In the sixth, Gezotis got far less of the ball but it was effective, nonetheless, as he hit a soft grounder to second that Luke Womboldt threw to second to try and start a double play. The ball was hit too softly to turn it, however, and McGuill came home from third with the game-winning run.

The loss was the second straight for Manny’s (4-5) and drops the team under .500 at the midway point of the season.

“It hasn’t been easy this year,” Manny’s skipper Lee Magee said. “Hopefully we can get things turned around in the second half of the season, but it’s going to be tough, because we play a lot of games in a very short amount of time. It’s going to be incumbent on our pitching.”

Manny’s jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Eric Libardoni opened the game with a walk and later scored on a Kyle Henry RBI single to center. DiFranco came back in the bottom of the inning with one run on an RBI single by Frank Calabrese before Gezotis belted his grand slam to left in the second.

The TV & Appliance Men came back in the sixth off starter Eric Adams, who had been cruising to that point. Libardoni again led things off with a walk, and Henry and Brian Hayes loaded the bases on back-to-back one-out singles. A John Wilkes grounder forced Libardoni at home for the second out, but Brody Markol drilled a two-out single to center to plate a pair of runs and drive Adams from the game. Justin Perry came on in relief and walked Troy Scott to reload the bases before giving up a two-run single to center to Austin Finck to tie the game.

“It was nice to see the rally because we really weren’t doing much after that first inning,” Magee said. “Our offense this year has been sort of lackluster this year and the team could have just thrown in the towel, but they didn’t.”

Jeff Dixon suffered the loss, striking out five and walking two in six innings. Adams struck out three and walked two in the no-decision.

Manny’s hosts St. Joseph’s Sunday afternoon at 1:30.

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