Greenfield doubles up Southwick
GREENFIELD, MA (April 5, 2013) Greenfield High School Vs Southwick. In the first game of the season pitcher Mike Duclos. Photo by Beth Reynolds
GREENFIELD, MA (April 5, 2013) Greenfield High School Vs Southwick. In the first game of the season Zach Bartak makes a safe slide at home. Photo by Beth Reynolds
GREENFIELD — It didn’t take long for the Greenfield High School bats to wake up.
The Green Wave scored 10 runs on eight hits in the first four innings and opened up the 2013 baseball season with a 10-5 independent victory over Southwick-Tolland Regional High School Friday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Field.
Coming into the season the biggest question mark surrounding the Wave was its offense, which struggled at times last season and was highlighted when Greenfield dropped a 1-0 decision to Athol High School in a 12-inning, Western Mass. Division II first round game.
Greenfield put any memories of that to rest in the opener with a 10-hit attack that helped it build a 10-1 lead after four innings. Greenfield coach Tom Suchanek, now in his 41st season with the team, was pleased with the performance, but acknowledged that there was still room for improvement.
“We told the kids, the first game you did well,” he said. “Southwick had just beaten Wahconah, 16-7, in their opener, and they’re always competitive, so it was a good win for us. But we still have some stuff to work on.”
Greenfield got the offense going right away in the opener, plating three runs in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Jake Elwell worked a walk and immediately stole second base. Kevin Luippold, playing in his first varsity game, followed with an RBI single to right. Garrett Hudson reached on an error to put runners on the corners, and Zach Bartak followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0. Later, after Drew Barisano hit into a fielder’s choice that saw Hudson get cut down at home, the Green Wave worked a double steal, as Barisano swiped second and Bartak scored from third when the catcher threw down.
“We just sent Drew so he would be in scoring position, that wasn’t a double steal,” Suchanek said. “But Zach got a good lead and the catcher never saw him. It was a good heads up play.”
Greenfield added two more runs in the third inning when Hudson and Bartak opened with back-to-back singles and Barisano walked to load the bases. Mike Duclos followed with a walk to force in a run, and Jourdan York-Welcome grounded out to short to give the Green Wave a 5-1 lead.
The Wave broke the game open in the fourth with five runs on four hits. Elwell again set the table for a big inning when he led off with a single, and Luippold followed with his second hit of the game. After both runners advanced on a double steal, Hudson plated both with a single to left for his second hit of the afternoon.
That brought up Bartak, who was 2-for-2 on the day, but his second hit (which came in the third inning) was perhaps the shortest single of his career when he nubbed a single down the third base line that traveled about 10 feet. Bartak made up for that lack of distance in his third at bat and roped a triple to the gap in right-center to plate Hudson and give the Green Wave an 8-1 lead. Later in the inning, Josh Brandl came up as a pinch-hitter and lined a single to left to plate the final two Green Wave runs of the day.
That gave starting and winning pitcher Duclos a 10-1 lead. Duclos was strong over the first four innings, striking out six while scattering four hits and walk. After two straight outs to begin the fifth, the pitcher got into some trouble as he allowed five straight hits to the Rams, including RBI singles by Jake Goodreau and Andrew Mitchell, and a two-run double to Nick Fortini. That brought the Rams to within 10-5, but Hudson came on in relief and got pinch-hitter Pat King to ground out to Bartak at shortstop, and Hudson breezed through the final two innings, striking out three and walking one.
The top five batters for the Green Wave — Elwell, Luippold, Hudson, Bartak and Barisano — paced the offense on the day, scoring all 10 runs and going a combined 9-for-17. Greenfield also took advantage of five walks issued by Southwick starter and loser Nick Masserelli in his four innings of work. Masserelli also struck out eight batters, including seven by the bottom four hitters in the Wave lineup.
One sore subject for the Green Wave on the day came in the seventh inning when Elwell, the team’s catcher and leadoff hitter, tried to block a pitch in the dirt. The ball bounced up and Elwell came up grimacing and holding his hand. He came out of the game and did not return.
Greenfield travels to Hampshire Regional High School Monday afternoon at 4.