|Pittsfield 12-Year-Olds Earn Walkoff Win in Little League Sectional|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
09:27PM / Friday, July 19, 2019
|Simon Mele's teammates greet him at home after one of his two solo home runs in Friday's comeback win.|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Dave Wildgoose ripped a single up the middle in the bottom of the sixth to score Anthony Hill Friday and give the Pittsfield Little League American Division All-Stars a 5-4, come-from-behind win over Agawam in the 12-year-old sectional tournament.
Cam Harrington and Mitch Hall each singled in the seventh-inning rally, which started with the visitors clinging to a 4-3 lead at Deming Park.
"I just tell them to stay confident," Pittsfield manager Matt Stracuzzi said. "We're a confident team, and I just keep preaching to those guys: Just be confident. Don't get down on yourselves.
"Just because we're down a run or two, it doesn't mean this game is over."
On Friday night, Pittsfield found itself down by four runs after a five-hit top of the first by Agawam, which benefited from a couple of plays when the Americans (2-0) reached for balls instead of getting in front of them.
"The one thing we said after the first inning was: Guys, we're a much better defensive team than this," Stracuzzi said. "We can't be playing balls to the side. We have to play like we've been playing all year.
"I said, 'Let's button that up and start playing defense,' which, believe me, they did, which was really nice."
They also got some offense from a familiar place: two solo home runs by Simon Mele that helped cut into that four-run Agawam lead.
Mele also was Friday's starting pitcher, and it was he who had to regroup after going in the hole early.
"I just had to bounce back," he said. "I was like, 'That was not a good inning,' but I had to bounce back the next four innings.
"If I do something good at the plate, it helps me pitching."
The first Pittsfield player to do something good at the plate was leadoff man Jack Abel, whose leadoff infield single set the table for a run in the bottom of the first. He moved up when Jason Codey reached on an error and scored when Jack Reed reached on a fielder's choice and error to make it 4-1.
Mele gave Pittsfield its next two runs, hitting a laser over the left-field fence in the third and a moonshot to center in the fifth to make it 4-3.
On the mound, meanwhile, Mele cruised through the middle innings, getting help from his defense in the second and the third.
In the second, he stabbed a line drive back to the mound and threw to second to double off a runner and end the inning.
In the third, Wildgoose charged a fly ball in right and made a shoestring catch for the first out. And shortstop Abel grabbed a grounder up the middle, stepped on second to retire one batter and fired to Joey Roccabruna at first to complete the double play.
Agawam's best chance to pad its lead came in the fifth when it loaded the bases with two out. But Mele got a swinging strike with his last pitch of the game before turning the ball over to Anthony Hill, who pitched a 1-2-3 sixth.
Pittsfield's sixth started with a single to center by Harrington, who took second on an outfield error. Hill then reached on an error that allowed Harrington to get to third.
Hall's single up the middle scored Harrington to tie the game and brought Wildgoose to the plate. His single up the middle brought his teammates out of the dugout and sent the Pittsfield fans home happy.
Pittsfield will be back at home on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Holden with a chance to finish pool play undefeated. The top two teams in the standings in the four-team tournament will meet Sunday for the Section 1 championship.