Late rally sends Franklin past Greenfield Post 81 at American Legion state tourney

  • Greenfield Post 81 players celebrate a double play against Belchertown Post 239 last week. Post 81 saw its summer run come to an end Wednesday night with a 7-6 loss to Franklin Post 75 in the American Legion Senior State Tournament in Milford. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/27/2022 11:08:03 PM

On a day of comebacks at the American Legion Senior State Tournament, Greenfield Post 81 found itself on the wrong end of a wild rally Wednesday night.

Just hours removed from watching Leominster rally from an 8-2 deficit with seven runs in the seventh inning to beat Milford in the first game of the day, Franklin Post 75 scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to erase a 6-2 deficit against Post 81 in the nightcap. Franklin’s late spurt secured a 7-6 victory, eliminating Greenfield at Fino Field in Milford.

Franklin will play Leominster for the state title and a spot in the Northeast Regional on Thursday at 4 p.m.

“The one good thing is, yes, it’s a heartbreaking loss, but at least we didn’t give it away,” Post 81 skipper Kevin Luippold said. “Franklin strung a lot of hits together in the bottom of the sixth and took the game from us.”

TJ Thibeault tossed five stellar innings on the mound for Post 81, striking out five and allowing just four hits, but had to be lifted due to reaching his pitch count limit.

“He was fantastic,” Luippold lauded.

Greenfield took a 4-0 lead in the third inning. Tyler Dubreuil led off with a triple and scored the game’s first run on an RBI single from David Carey. Jason Quinn followed with an RBI double, and Kyle Barnes also smacked an RBI double to make it 3-0. Barnes eventually scored on an error to give Post 81 a 4-0 advantage.

“We were hot in the third inning and batted around,” said Luippold.

The lead grew to 6-0 in the fourth. Carey and Quinn both singled, and Luippold set them in motion on a double steal. On the play, Ben Martino roped a line shot into the gap, plating both runners in the process.

Franklin chipped away with a run in the fourth and another in the fifth, setting up the five-run sixth. Greenfield couldn’t put a run together to tie the game in the top of the seventh.

“Honestly, we had a great shot at winning this tournament,” explained Luippold. “We battled with some of the best teams but also the best players in the state. It was a great season. It’s a tough way to end it, a tough game that the kids are sad about but they can’t hang their heads.”


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