|Pittsfield Americans Capture 9-11 Tournament Title|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
06:45PM / Sunday, July 08, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Pittsfield American League All-Stars missed their first chance to put the game away in the bottom of the fourth inning on Sunday.
Codey Soper made sure they didn’t miss a second time.
Soper cashed in on a couple of defensive miscues to turn a strikeout into a three-base gain, and Aiden Alibozek drove Soper home to give the Americans a 10-0, four-inning win over the Pittsfield National League to claim the Don Gleason District 1 9- to 11-year-old Championship on Sunday at Deming Park.
Cam Harrington struck out five and allowed just two hits in winning his second game of the tourney and leading the Americans to a 3-0 record in the double-elimination bracket.
The AL broke open a close game against its city rivals with an eight-run third to take a 9-0 lead.
The Americans then started the fourth with a man on first and nobody out, needing one run to implement the 10-run “mercy” rule.
“I wanted to bunt him to second to get the scoring opportunity,” Pittsfield Americans coach Matt Stracuzzi said. “He took off. He thought it was a steal.”
And Nats catcher Mitchell Hall gunned down the runner to leave the AL with one out and nobody on.
“He gets thrown out, and I’m saying, ‘Oh, shoot, there goes that,’ “ Stracuzzi said. “But I give the Soper kid credit. He strikes out, and I look down and he’s taking off. And then I look and I see the ball. I didn’t know the catcher drop it. … And then once I saw it in right field, he just took off. He’s got speed.”
Soper ended up on third, and Alibozek’s ground ball to the right side allowed him to come home and end the game.
The Americans generated the only run they needed in the bottom of the first.
Jack Abel singled to left and moved up on a wild pitch before Simon Mele’s single to right field drove Abel home.
The Americans batted around in the third, using two Aiden Carlino doubles in the eight-run rally.
Meanwhile, Harrington held the Nats’ bats at bay, not allowing anything after Chase Wendling singled and reached second to lead off the game.
Harrington struck out the side around a Nick Berkeley single in the second. In the third, he retired the side in order. And in the fourth, Harrington struck out a pair.
“The first game [Harrington] pitched … he hadn’t pitched for a whole good week and a half, and he was a little rusty when he pitched Thursday,” Stracuzzi said. “But today you could tell. He was right on. He had his stuff going from the start, and he threw strikes.
“That’s what we talk about with him: Go out and challenge. We’ve got good ‘D’ behind us. And he did his job today. That was phenomenonal.”