Frontier baseball advances to second straight Western Mass. Class C finals with win over Pathfinder (PHOTOS)

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 05-25-2023 8:41 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The Frontier baseball team was able to get runners into scoring position in each of the first three innings on Thursday during the Western Mass. Class C semifinals against Pathfinder, but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. 

That changed in the fourth inning. 

The No. 3 Redhawks drove in four runs in the fourth to take a commanding 4-1 lead. Frontier tacked two more on in the sixth to make its second straight trip to the Class C title game with a 6-1 victory over the No. 7 Pioneers. 

“We were talking going into the fourth about how we were leaving guys in scoring position,” Frontier coach Chris Williams said. “Two outs, guy on second, who’s going to come up with that clutch hit? We were talking about dagger shots all day and our guys came through.” 

The Redhawks (14-6) needed just those two innings at the plate to get the job done with the way Grayson Loos was pitching on the hill. Loos allowed just three hits and four walks while striking out 11. Aidan Heffernan came on to get the final two outs of the game for Frontier. 

“Seeing that kid come out and pound the zone was one of the best moments of the day,” Williams said of Loos. “That was something we talked about before the game, just throwing first pitch strikes. He did a good job with that. His offspeed was working well. Really happy with how he performed today.” 

It was Pathfinder (13-6) that got the opening run of the game, doing so in the second inning. Tim Russell got on with a single, stole second and following an overthrow to third after he attempted to swipe his second base, was able to make it home to give the Pioneers the opening run of the game. It was Pathfinder’s final hit until the seventh, with Loos shutting the Pioneers down the next four innings. 

“I didn’t have my best stuff today but I was able to fight through,” Loos said. “I was throwing more strikes than usual so I’m pretty happy about that. We’ve had some tough points but I had confidence in our guys. When we get going, we get going.”

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Loos helped himself by getting the rally started in the fourth with a single. Tyler Cusson and Liam Skribiski-Banack followed it with back-to-back walks to load the bases for Wyatt Edes, who came through with a base hit to left field that brought Loos and Cusson home to give Frontier a 2-1 lead. Skribiski-Banack was thrown out trying to take third while Edes took second on the throw home. 

Eathon Bryant drew a walk, Miles Ferreira dropped down a bunt to move both runners over and Brady Poreda came up and smashed a single to bring Edes and Bryant home to put the Redhawks ahead, 4-1. 

Bryant and Ferreira opened the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back singles. Poreda put down a bunt to move both runners into scoring position before Alex Gochinski came up and blasted a single to score Bryant and Ferreira, adding two insurance runs to put Frontier ahead, 6-1, going into the top of the seventh. 

“I have to give credit to Poreda,” Williams said. “That kid came up with a clutch hit with runners on second and third and I’ve been really impressed and proud of what he’s been doing. He dropped that bunt down to put two runners in scoring position and Gochinski drives them in. He’s helping us manufacture runs right now. Gochinski is swinging a hot bat. We’re excited to see Bryant find the barrel of the bat and rope one. Proud of our offense but there’s always room to improve.”

Gochinski added a single and a double while Edes and Nico Fasulo also singled in the win. 

Getting to the Western Mass. title game hasn’t been the problem for Williams and the Redhawks, it’s bringing home the trophy. Frontier has lost its last four Western Mass. championship games, but the skipper feels this is the team that can get the job done. 

Standing in the way of that trophy? That’ll be top seeded Smith Vocational, which knocked off No. 5 Lenox, 14-4, in the semifinals on Thursday. 

“We’re always getting to these Western Mass. finals,” Williams said. “This is my fourth one coaching and I lost my last one my senior year [as a player] so I’m zero for my last five. We want this one bad. We’re excited for whoever we get to play against and will be amped up for this one.” 

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