Div. 5 baseball: Smith Vocational takes down Turners Falls in state opener (PHOTOS)

  • Turners Falls pitcher Lenny Villafana delivers against Smith Vocational during the Division 5 state baseball tournament at Arcanum Field in Northampton on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational’s Caelan Finnie runs to first base, while Turners Falls third baseman Joey Mosca loads up a throw during the Division 5 state baseball tournament at Arcanum Field in Northampton on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational first baseman James Lavalle stretches for an out against Turners Falls in the Division 5 state baseball tournament at Arcanum Field in Northampton on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational pitcher Marshall Ingram delivers against Turners Falls during the Division 5 state baseball tournament preliminary round at Arcanum Field in Northampton on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Turners Falls pitcher Lenny Villafana delivers against Smith Vocational during the Division 5 state baseball tournament at Arcanum Field in Northampton on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational’s Carter Blanchette, center, is caught in a pickle between home plate and third base during the Division 5 state baseball tournament preliminary round at Arcanum Field in Northampton on Saturday. Turners Falls catcher Derek Wissman throws the ball to Thunder third baseman Joey STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational pitcher Marshall Ingram delivers against Turners Falls during the Division 5 state baseball tournament preliminary round at Arcanum Field in Northampton on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational catcher Cayden Payne throws to first base after a dropped third strike against Turners Falls in the Division 5 state abseball tournament’s preliminary round at Arcanum Field in Northampton on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • The Smith Vocational baseball team celebrates its 5-2 win over Turners Falls in the Division 5 state tournament preliminary round at Arcanum Field in Northampton on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

For the Recorder
Published: 6/4/2022 9:23:45 PM

NORTHAMPTON – While Turners Falls put the wraps on a fine bounceback season Saturday, a wild and history-making week for Smith Vocational baseball continued with the Vikings' first-ever state tournament victory.

Fresh off their small-schools state vocational championship three days earlier, the 25th-seeded Vikings ran their overall record to 19-2, getting a complete-game effort from pitcher Marshall Ingram in a 5-2 win over No. 40 seed Turners in the MIAA Division 5 preliminary round at Arcanum Field.

Smith Voc will travel to No. 8 Carver for a Round of 32 game Monday at 4 p.m.

Turners, which went winless in 2021, finished its season at 9-10.

“It's amazing, They've overachieved all year and they're a pleasure to coach,” said Vikings coach Luis Bonilla. “We're doing great things, having a lot of fun, and the school is very proud of us. At this point, the sky's the limit.”

Ingram pitched hitless ball for his first 4 2/3 innings of work, allowing only two walks in that span, before Turners' Kainen Stevens came through with an infield single. The Thunder then dented Ingram for two hits in the sixth and two more and a pair of runs in the seventh, before he finished with a five-hitter, with seven strikeouts and three walks.

“He threw great all day, and for the most part, our kids were out in front. He kind of had us off balance a little bit,” said Thunder coach Scott Minckler. “Hats off to him. He threw a heckuva game in a big situation.”

Smith Vocational got the early jump with two runs in the home first against Turners starter Lenny Villafana. Ingram singled to right and Rosco Palmer followed with a double to center as Ingram advanced to third. With Cole Boisvert batting, Villafana was called for a balk by base umpire Artie Burke, allowing Ingram to score and Palmer to go to third. Palmer then scored immediately after on a wild pitch.

Boisvert then popped out before Caelan Finnie reached on an infield hit, but Turners got out of the inning with a 6-4-3 double play.

Ingram set down the first nine batters he faced before issuing a leadoff walk to Alex Quezada in the fourth, but then started a 1-4-3 double play on a comebacker hit by Levin Prondecki.

The Vikings doubled their lead in the home fourth with a two-out rally. James Lavallee was hit by a pitch, stole second, and went to third on Jared Baer's single to center. Baer took second on the throw to the plate. Carter Blanchette followed with a two-run single to center for a 4-0 score.

Turners mounted its first real threat with two outs in the top of the fifth when Jake Lyons walked and Stevens reached on a infield hit to third, the Thunder's first of the day. The throw to first was wild as Lyons moved to third and Stevens to second, but Ingram got a strikeout to end it.

In the sixth, the Thunder's Lincoln Coleman blooped a base hit just inside the left-field line before Ingram retired the next two hitters. An infield single by Derek Wissmann and a walk to Cam Burnett filled the bases, but Turners could not capitalize as Joey Mosca popped out to short.

Lavallee and Blanchette each reached on infield hits and pinch-hitter Dawson Kelly was hit by a pitch to load the bases in the home sixth. With two out, Ingram hit a high chopper to third on which Turners had no play. Lavallee came across to score the fifth Viking run, but when Blanchette also tried to round third, he was trapped in a rundown and tagged out at the plate.

The Thunder finally struck in their last at-bat, when Stevens reached second on a throwing error with one out and Coleman's infield single put men at the corners with two out. Quezada then delivered a ringing double to deep left to plate Stevens and Coleman, before Ingram retired Prondecki on a ground ball to close out the victory.

“He struggled a little bit with walking people throughout the season,” said Bonilla of Ingram. “He always seems to manage to come through at the end. I wasn't worried about him, I was going to send him out there in the seventh. I did have a backup plan. but I didn't need it. He always comes through for us.”

Ingram and Blanchette each had a pair of hits to lead the Vikings' nine-hit attack.

“We're sitting in a pretty good spot, coming back with the nucleus of our team returning,” said Minckler. “It makes me feel really good. We were 0-12 last year, we come out and get a 9-10 season this year. They've been here, they know what it feels like now, and hopefully we can get off to a hot start and let it carry on throughout (next) year.”


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