O’Connor triple the difference as Northampton edges Post 81, 4-3

  • Greenfield Post 81 baserunner Luke Viens dives back into first base where Northampton Post 28’s Andy Grygorcewicz awaits a throw Friday night. Post 28 edged Post 81, 4-3 at Arcanum Field in Northampton. FOR THE RECORDER/SARAH CROSBY

  • Greenfield baserunner Kalen Evans slides into second base as Northampton Post 28's Jackson Heath, left, makes a play on the ball during Post 28’s 4-3 win Friday at Arcanum Field. FOR THE RECORDER/SARAH CROSBY

Recorder Staff
Friday, July 13, 2018

Will O’Connor smacked a two-out, two-run go-ahead triple in the bottom of the fifth inning, and host Northampton Post 28 edged Greenfield Post 81, 4-3, in an American Legion Baseball Senior Division game between the top two teams in Zone B Friday night at Arcanum Field in Florence.

Greenfield’s pursuit of clinching the Zone B regular-season title was delayed at least one day with the loss. Post 81 closes out its regular season slate today at 1 against Easthampton at Nonotuck Park. Greenfield fell to 12-4-1, while Northampton improved to 12-5 with a game left against Agawam. A Post 81 win today would secure the top seed in the Zone with the postseason beginning Monday night.

“We’ve got to flush this game and be ready to play against Easthampton,” admitted Post 81 skipper Kyle Phelps. “We’re right where we want to be. The playoffs pretty much start (today).”

Northampton jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, taking advantage of three Greenfield errors in the process.

Post 81 tied the game in the second inning. Colin Cloutier singled and Ben Arnold and Brian Allen both walked to load the bases. Kalen Evans followed with a two-run single, pulling the visitors back, 2-2.

Greenfield pitcher Adam Hallenbeck kept Northampton off the board until the fifth. But with two outs, O’Connor lifted a two-run triple that put the hosts back on top, 4-2.

“Adam pitched a great game. He made a mistake on that one pitch and that was the game unfortunately,” Phelps said.

Post 81 got a run closer in the top of the sixth. Cloutier reached on an error, and pinch runner Garrett DeForest eventually scored when Luke Viens, who reached on an infield single, was picked off at first base.

Greenfield threatened in the top of the seventh. Evans reached on a two-base error, and took third on a ground out by Tionne Brown. With two outs, Connor Waitkus drilled a line drive to center field, but the ball was right at the fielder and Northampton survived to pull a game closer to Greenfield in the standings.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said Phelps. “We played a good game against a good ballclub, it just didn’t fall our way.  We gave them a few runs early and that was the difference.”

Hallenbeck struck out five batters in 5 2/3 innings of work, while Arnold got the final out of the sixth with a strikeout.