Post 81 locks up No. 1 District seed
Phil Mickelson of the United States holds up the Claret Jug trophy after winning the British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield, Scotland, Sunday July 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Although Greenfield Post 81 missed the American Legion National Bound Tournament, it wrapped up the No. 1 seed for the District Playoffs Saturday.
Post 81 survived a late scare from South Hadley-Pettengill Insurance and held on for a 5-4 victory in the regular season finale at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield.
The victory gave Post 81 a 16-4 regular-season record, securing the district’s top seed. Greenfield will open the district quarterfinals tonight at 5:30 at Vets Field in Greenfield against eighth-seeded Agawam Post 185. Coincidentally, Agawam is the last team to beat Greenfield and the team that eliminated Post 81 from the National-Bound hunt.
“It’s what we were striving for from the beginning of the season,” Greenfield coach Ryan Tatreau said. “We just missed qualifying for National Bound, but we’ve played some of our best baseball since our last loss to Agawam. We’ve worked really hard for this.”
In the regular-season finale against South Hadley, Greenfield took a 5-1 lead into the top of the seventh but Scott Bicknell crushed a rare Vets Field home run when he belted a three-run bomb to left-center off post 81 reliever Garrett Hudson to pull Pettengill to within a run. Hudson settled down and didn’t give up anything else as Greenfield held on for the win.
“That home run by Bicknell, it was just one of those that you have to tip your cap to,” Tatreau said. “Garrett had two strikes on him and he threw him a high fastball. It wasn’t a bad pitch, but he absolutely crushed it.”
Greenfield built its lead on the strength of John Deskavich, the No. 9 hitter in the order, who has been red hot at the plate. Deskavich finished with two hits and drove in three runs.
“We’ve been able to get more production from the bottom of our order this year,” Tatreau added. “It’s something that we didn’t get a lot of last year.”
Greenfield scored once in the second inning and added two more runs in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead, including one run on a Deskavich RBI single. Pettengill got its first run of the game in the top of the sixth on a Joe Ciolek RBI single, but Deskavich plated a pair of runs on a double in the bottom of the frame for the 5-1 lead.
Sam Tillona pitched five innings of one-hit, shutout ball to earn the win, striking out five and walking two. Tyler Charboneau singled and doubled in the win, Mark Buck doubled and stole two bases, and Niko Ames singled to run his hitting streak to 11 games, and also stole a pair of bases.
Manny’s 6, Longmeadow 1 — Manny’s TV & Appliance ended what has been an up-and-down season on a three-game winning streak as it knocked off Longmeadow Warriors, 6-1, in a Tri-County League game Sunday afternoon in Longmeadow.
Manny’s (9-11) finished seventh in the 11-team TCL standings and will open up the TCL quarterfinals tonight against second-seeded Wilbraham Funeral Home at 7 in Wilbraham. The TV & Appliance Men scored three runs in the first inning and three more in the third to jump on top early. The visitors were helped out by 12 walks from Longmeadow pitching.
“I think they were a little shorthanded on pitchers and we took advantage of that,” Manny’s coach Lee Magee said. “We were patient. We took what they gave us. There is still room for improvement but it caps a nice little three-game winning streak to end the season, and maybe we have a little momentum going into the playoffs.”
Manny’s scored three times in the top of the first, when Kyle Henry hit an RBI single and Dave Talbot and Colin Dudunake each worked bases-loaded walks. Longmeadow got one run back in the second on a Brendan Charboneau RBI, but Manny’s scored three more times in the sixth as Soren Pelz-Walsh hit a two-run single, and Greg Vouros hit a ground out to score the third run.
Devin Rhodes earned the win, striking out two and walking none in five innings. Dudunake struck out one and walked two in two innings of scoreless relief.
Mike Kielbasa and Bryan Dupre each had doubles for Longmeadow, which finished the season ninth at 4-14-1 overall.
• The TCL Awards were also announced on Sunday night and Manny’s earned a pair of All-Stars in Eric Libardoni (catcher) and Dusty Mones (pitcher). Peoples Bank, which won the TCL regular-season title, took home the top two awards as shortstop Ryan Franczyk was named Most Valuable Player, while Nick Noblit won the Wes Carr Award as the league’s top pitcher.
Teddy Bear 8, Easthampton 5 — Casey Blanchard pitched six strong innings Saturday morning as Teddy Bear Pools ended the regular season with a 8-5 win over Easthampton Savings Bank in TCL action at Valiton Field in South Deerfield.
Blanchard struck out one and walked two, allowing one run in six innings as Teddy Bear bulit a 8-1 lead. Easthampton (4-15) got four runs in the seventh off Teddy Bear reliever Scott Cooke. But Brad Bean came in and got the final out to record the save. Teddy Bear is the eighth-and-final seed in the TCL playoffs and will open up at top-seeded Peoples Bank tonight at 7 at Mackenzie Field in Holyoke.
Teddy Bear (8-12) scored one run in each of the first three innings. Andrew Sadowski hit a two-out, RBI single in the first inning for the game’s first run, Corey Shearer tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the second, and Nick Marscher doubled and scored on a Sadowski sac fly in the third. Dan Kane added a two-run single in the fourth for two more runs, while Blanchard hit an RBI double, and Bean hit an RBI single as part of a three-run fifth for Teddy Bear.
Brandon Kubic suffered the loss, striking out three and walking eight in six innings.