Big 6th inning lifts Greenfield Post 81 past West Side in Junior Legion tourney

Staff Writer
Published: 7/19/2022 10:30:48 PM
Modified: 7/19/2022 10:30:24 PM

GREENFIELD — Everything unraveled for West Springfield in the bottom of the sixth inning of the American Legion Junior Division playoff opener Tuesday night at Vets Field.

Greenfield Post 81 held a 6-4 lead going into the bottom of the sixth when Deven Dubie reached with a walk. Trevor Kuchieski got on via a bunt, and an error put runners on second and third. Dubie reached home on a passed ball to extend the lead to 7-4. 

Jake Petrin then drew a walk, and West Springfield pulled starter Liam Gazvin, who had hit his pitch count. Phillip Curran came on and walked the first four batters he faced, leading to three more Greenfield runs. A pair of walks and wild pitches brought two more runs in, putting the game out of reach as Post 81 earned a 12-4 victory.

Greenfield advanced to face Sheffield, which beat Wilbraham 8-7 on Tuesday, in the next round of the four-team District 3 double elimination tournament. That game is scheduled for Thursday night at War Memorial Field in Sheffield. The winner of the tournament advances to the American Legion state tournament, set to begin on July 30 at Mahan Field in Natick.

“We talked about getting some insurance runs going into the sixth,” Post 81 coach Colin Cloutier said. “Deven got us going with a great at bat and Trevor bunted to put a lot of pressure on them. It worked to perfection. From there things just worked out the way they did. We knew once we got runners on, our guys wouldn’t let them breathe once they had them pinned down.” 

The win was extra special for Post 81, which had dropped both games to West Springfield during the regular season.

Greenfield was eager to get a third crack, and made the most of it. 

“This is the only team that beat us twice,” Cloutier said. “When we heard we were playing them, we were excited to prove ourselves. We consider ourselves the team to beat in this league but they had beat us twice. We didn’t want to come out here and not play our game. We were short guys but still made it happen.” 

Post 81 got the first runs of the game in the second inning. Jackson Petrin walked but was thrown out at second on a Johnny Marchefka fielder’s choice. Ethan Mauthe cracked a single and Dylen Richardson drove Marchefka in with a base hit to give Greenfield the first run of the game. 

Mauthe was able to make it to third on a steal and Jackson Campbell brought him home via a sacrifice fly to left to make it 2-0 going into the third. 

West Springfield tied the game in the ensuing inning. Dan Ryan walked and Joey Szmera knocked him in after blasting a double. Curran hit a single to score Szmera, tying the game 2-2. 

Post 81 answered in the bottom of the third. Kuchieski was hit by a pitch and scored after Jackson Petrin rocketed a double to deep center field. Marchefka singled and he and Jackson Petrin advanced on a passed ball. Mauthe blooped a single over the second baseman’s head to bring Jackson Petrin and Marchefka across, giving Greenfield a 5-2 lead. 

West Springfield cut into the lead in the fifth. Owen Lavelle got on with a single and stole his way around the bases to make the score 5-3. 

Gazvin walked, moved to second on a ground out and made it home on a Michael Mahan single to cut the deficit to 5-4. 

Like it did all game, Post 81 had an answer in the bottom of the fifth. Jake Petrin rocketed a double and Jackson Petrin drove him in with a single to make the Greenfield advantage 6-4 going into the sixth. 

Jackson Petrin tossed the first 5 1/3 innings for Post 81, striking out three. Campbell came on in relief for Greenfield, not allowing a run in 1 2/3 innings on the hill. 

Jackson Petrin benefited from a number of stellar plays from his brother, Jake Petrin, at shortstop, who came up with a handful of impressive stops to prevent West Springfield from getting runners on base. 

“He came up clutch like always,” Jackson Petrin said of his brother. “I can always trust him. I just had to show the confidence I had already and shut it down.” 

After Curran came on to pitch in the sixth, Jackson Petrin was intentionally walked to load the bases. Marchefka walked to bring Kuchieski in, Jake Petrin scored on a wild pitch, Mauthe walked and Jackson Petrin reached home on a wild pitch before Jake Lavin walked. Suddenly Post 81 held a 10-4 lead. 

Dubie and Kuchieski drew bases-loaded walks later in the inning to balloon the lead to 12-4. 

“I knew that we were going to get more runs,” Petrin said. “They had to bring a different pitcher in. I feel great as a team. We have a lot of arms, a lot of hitting. All we have to do is be ready.” 

Now taking on top-seeded Sheffield, Cloutier said he likes his team’s chances. 

“We’re excited,” Cloutier said. “We played Sheffield tough three times. When we come out and play our best baseball, nobody can beat us here. We’re excited to try to take this to states.” 


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