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Spartans eliminate Wave, 4-0

AMHERST — An uncharacteristically poor defensive performance proved to be much of the undoing of the Greenfield High School baseball team in Saturday’s Western Mass. Division III baseball championship game. Monument Mountain Regional High School pitcher Peter Oggiani did the rest.

The sixth-seeded Green Wave committed five errors in two innings and only managed to collect four hits in seven innings against Oggiani, as top-seeded Monument dethroned the defending champions, 4-0, at Earl Lorden Field.

The victory is the first-ever WMass baseball title for Monument (18-3), which has appeared in six of the past 13 WMass title games. Greenfield finished its season 17-7.

The problems for the Green Wave began in the second inning, after Monument’s Dom DeFelice reached on a one-out single and went to second on a wild pitch. He then moved to third base when Henri Morrison singled to put runners on the corners. Greenfield senior pitcher Parker Hickey (six strikeouts, one walk) came back to strike out James Allentuck for the second out of the inning, then got ahead of Monument’s No. 9 hitter, Nate Cormier, with a 1-2 count and appeared poised to strike him out. On the fourth pitch to Cormier, Morrison broke for second and Green Wave catcher Jake Elwell, playing after suffering an ankle injury in Wednesday’s semifinal win over Drury High School, threw down to second to try and get the runner. At that same time, DeFelice took off for home, and he scored the lead run easily after Elwell’s throw ended up in the dirt in front of second.

As it seems to go sometimes, Cormier then singled on the very next pitch to drive in Morrison, making it 2-0. Trevor McFarland then singled up the middle, and when Green Wave shortstop Garrett Hudson bobbled the ball, it allowed Cormier to score from second. Greenfield then made three errors in the third inning to allow the Spartans to score their fourth run.

“You see that five up there on the far right? That’s what did it,” Greenfield coach Tom Suchanek said of the errors while pointing at the scoreboard. “Parker pitched well today. We just ... that’s uncharacteristic of us. I looked back in the book and we probably averaged half an error over the last 11 or 12 games, and today we make five. They had some timely hits, too, but they did a good job of making contact and making us make plays, and we didn’t make them.”

Hudson, who was officially charged with two errors, said he felt as though he made three on the day. The senior, who has played on the varsity team for four years, could not believe the Wave lost in the fashion it did.

“Personally, I made three errors that led to two runs,” he said. “Look at the scoreboard. They had five hits and we made five errors. We had more errors (five) than we did hits (four).”

Hudson finished with two hits, including a double, in his final game, while fellow senior Drew Barisano also singled in his final game. Kevin Luippold had the fourth Green Wave hit. Jourdan York-Welcome and Connor Eckstrom also played in their final games for Greenfield Saturday, and York-Welcome reflected on his career as he walked toward the bus.

“I’ve experienced the highs and lows of playing in this game,” he said in regards to winning the WMass title last season and losing in the title game this year. “And the feeling of losing stinks.”

Oggiani finished with three strikeouts and no walks to earn the win. Monument advanced to take on Central Mass. champion Northbridge High School in the state semifinals Tuesday at 4 at Tivnan Field in Worcester.

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