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Braintree Blanks Pittsfield Babe Ruth 15s at Regional
By Stephen Dravis, Sports
09:04PM / Friday, July 19, 2019
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WESTFIELD, Mass. -- The best thing that could be said about the Pittsfield Babe Ruth 15-year-old All-Stars' New England Regional opener is that it was just the first game of pool play.
But that was not the only positive to take away from a 4-0 loss to Braintree at Bullens Field.
The biggest other positive may be that despite 10 walks and four Pittsfield errors, the team only gave up four runs, all in the top of the second.
Pittsfield pitchers Sam Sherman, Stevie Zuccalo and Mike Zwinglestein stranded 13 runners to help keep the team in the ballgame.
Another plus to take going into Saturday's 2 p.m. matchup with the Rhode Island State Champions: Pittsfield went down fighting. getting hits from Owen Kroboth and Zwinglestein in the bottom of the seventh.
Unfortunately for Pittsfield, that meant half of its hits came with at least one out in the seventh inning.
Against Braintree starter Chase Cahill, any other offense was hard to come by.
"I don't think he walked anybody," Pittsfield manager Bryon Sherman said. "He hit one batter. No freebies.
"We had runners on. We had a couple of chances and just couldn't pull through. He got out of jams when he needed to."
Cahill struck out seven in a complete-game win at sweltering Bullens.
He got all the offensive support he needed in that second inning, when two Pittsfield errors helped helped Braintree get ahead.
Josh Donovan got the inning started with a leadoff walk, but he was eventually erased when Zuccalo fielded a grounder at third and fired home to Kroboth for the inning's first out.
By that time,, though, two more runners were on base, and both scored thanks to Tim McLaughlin's RBI single and a run-scoring groundout. Cahill capped the inning with a two-run double to left-center.
Pittsfield's best chance to put a dent in the lead came in the bottom of the third.
Kaden Codey legged out an infield single with one out, and Jonathan Monahan singled to center to put runners at the corners. Monahan then stole second to put two men in scoring position.
But Cahill got a strikeout looking an a fly ball to the mound to end the threat.
Pittsfield got one more baserunner, a hit batter with two out in the fifth, before Kroboth's one-out single in the bottom of the seventh.
Zwinglestein's two-out single put two men on base, but Cahill closed the door with a swinging strike.
Pittsfield took away one more lesson as it looks ahead to Saturday's game against Rhode Island (0-1) and the second of three pool play contests.
"They learned a lot today," Sherman said. "We faced some adversity for the the first time, which we handled OK. It could be better. We know we need to shape up and come back ready to play tomorrow against Rhode Island."


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