Senior Legion: Post 81 battles back in seventh to beat Sheffield 

  • Greenfield Post 81 pitcher TJ Thibeault throws against Belchertown Post 239 in the bottom of the fifth inning Sunday afternoon in Belchertown. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 6/29/2022 10:00:45 PM

GREENFIELD — It was a roller coaster for Greenfield Post 81 Wednesday night against Sheffield. 

Post 81 led 6-1 going into the sixth inning, but Sheffield rallied for six runs in the frame to take a 7-6 lead. 

Greenfield fought back in the bottom of the seventh, as Tyler Dubreuil hit an inside-the-park home run to tie the game up. 

Ethan Quinn blasted a double, Ben Martino walked and MJ Paulin got on with a single to load the bases. Cam Lococo put the ball in play but Sheffield was able to toss Quinn out at home, keeping the bases packed with two outs. 

The drama quickly dissipated, as Martino scampered home on a passed ball to lift Greenfield to a wild 8-7 American Legion Senior Division victory at Vets Field.

“When I saw the top of the order was coming around, I knew we’d be fine as long as our balls in the air dropped,” Post 81 coach Kevin Luippold said. “They’re great hitters and were hitting well all game. It was just a matter of if they’d hit it to an outfielder or hit a gap. Luckily Tyler got it down and once it was down I knew he had a chance to score with his speed. The momentum just built from there. The baseball gods were with us with that passed ball but I think we would have got it done either way.” 

TJ Thibeault had a big day on the mound for Greenfield, tossing five innings, striking out eight and allowing a mere three hits against a dangerous Sheffield lineup. 

“I felt good out there,” Thibeault said. “I love this season. It’s fun. Everyone comes here, has a great time and we win baseball games. It’s great having a great defense behind me.” 

Sheffield opened the scoring in the first inning, with Cooper Shepardson reaching on a single and scoring after Jack Carpenter demolished a double that went off the fence in left center field to give Sheffield a 1-0 lead. 

Post 81 tied the game in the bottom half of the inning, with David Carey reaching on a single and Martino driving him in with a triple. 

Greenfield struck again in the third. Dubreuil opened the inning with a single, got to second on a balk and made it home on a Sheffield error on a ball put in play by Carey. Carey got caught in a rundown and was thrown out, but Quinn followed it up with a single. 

Martino then blasted his second triple of the game to bring Quinn home and Paulin grounded out to score Martino and suddenly Post 81 had a 4-1 lead. 

Two more runs came across the board for Greenfield in the fifth. Tyler Podolski opened the inning by crushing a triple and Mike Bassett brought him in with a single. Bassett then stole a pair of bases and made it home on a Carey single to give Post 81 a 6-1 lead. 

Things came apart in the sixth for Post 81. Carpenter got on with an error and a pair of walks loaded the bases. Thibeault then hit his pitch count, bringing Tyler Baranowski into the game. 

Sheffield’s Jack Seward-Daily grounded to short, but the throw home sailed over catcher Dylan Martin’s head to allow two runs to score. Martin then tried throwing Seward-Daily out at second but a second error allowed Cole Bisseillion to head home, clearing the bases and cutting the deficit to 6-4. 

Baranowski got a pair of strikeouts, but a series of walks loaded the bases up once again. Luca Traversa hit a single to bring in a run before Carpenter hit a second consecutive single to bring in a pair of runs, giving Sheffield a 7-6 lead. 

Luippold was impressed with what he saw from his starter before he had to pull him. 

“He’s been bringing it all year,” Luippold said of Thibeault. “He keeps us in games. Unfortunately I had to pull him and we made an error after that. Nothing on him. He pitched well. He keeps the ball low, he only let up a couple hits. When a pitcher does that, it’s all you can ask for.” 

Greenfield wasn’t able to do any damage in the sixth, though Baranowski shut down Sheffield in the top of the seventh to keep it within one run. 

With the top of the order coming up in the bottom of the seventh, Greenfield felt it had a great chance to go win the game. 

“I was worried but I felt like we were going to pull through,” Thibeault said. “We have that run support and some great hitters.” 

The comeback was the first of the season for Post 81. Luippold was proud of the fight his team showed, not quitting despite the rough sixth inning. 

“It shows me that we’ll be able to face adversity when it comes,” Luippold said. “The games we’ve been down, we’ve lost. We haven’t had a comeback yet so this was our first. Doing it in the seventh inning should give us some momentum going forward. We had a tough spell with the losses to Westfield and Belchertown but we’ve responded well. We’ve seen a little bit of everything which is what you want for a team that’s building for the playoffs.” 

Next up for Greenfield (6-2) is a Friday night home game against Longmeadow.


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