|Spokane, Wash., Edges Pittsfield Babe Ruth 13s at World Series|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
04:57PM / Monday, August 12, 2019
WESTFIELD, Mass. -- The Pittsfield Babe Ruth 13-year-old All-Stars have played four games -- 28 innings -- at the World Series, and they are all square.
Starting Tuesday, that won’t be enough to stay alive.
Spokane, Wash., Monday edged Pittsfield, 4-3, in the final game of pool play for the New England Regional Champions.
Pittsfield ended the round robin in the tournament’s National Division with a record of 2-2, having scored eight runs and allowed eight runs through the first four games of the national championship.
That record was good enough to make Pittsfield one of six teams who survive to bracket play -- three from each of two divisions. Greenville, N.C., gets the bye from the National Division into Wednesday’s semi-finals. Pittsfield must win twice to get to Thursday’s World Series title game.
Its quest will begin at 9 a.m. at Bullens Field against Ohio Valley Regional champion Janesville, Wis, which went 1-3 in the American Division, finishing third. Originally, the quarter-finals were scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and evening, but the threat of rain forced tournament officials to schedule both quarter-finals to be played simultaneously at Westfield State University and Bullens, the tournament’s home.
Monday, Pittsfield had its most productive inning of the tournament, scoring three times in the top of the second to take a 3-1 lead.
But the Pacific Northwest champs answered with two in the bottom of the frame and scored the eventual game-winner on an outfield error in the bottom of the fourth.
Pittsfield’s three runs matched offensive high for the tournament, but it was not enough against Spokane, which collected six hits against Evan Blake.
“This was not one of [Blake’s] best games,” Pittsfield manager Paul Brindle said of Pittsfield’s Game 1 starter, who made his third appearance of the tournament. “Every inning, we talked to him. He was laboring. … We knew were going to take him out. I was hoping we’d get a nice lead, and then I could bring in other pitchers that I haven’t even used.
“I have to give him credit. He gutted it out. And he kept telling me, I don’t have my stuff today.”
For the third straight game, Pittsfield fell behind, 1-0, in the first inning.
Washington’s Kole LeGrant led off the game by reaching on an field single, moved up to third on another single and scored on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded.
Blake closed the door from there, recording his only strikeout of the game on a called third strike and getting a flyout to left fielder Cam Sime to end the inning.
Pittsfield then rode that momentum by opening the second with three straight hits -- from Keegan Crouse, Owen Salvatore and Damon Pause to load the bases.
Sime drove in a run on a fielder’s choice, Salvatore stole home on a double steal with Pause, and Sime bunted home a run to make it 3-1.
Pittsfield had just two more hits the rest of the day -- a two-out single by Antonio Scalise in the third and a two-out double by Scaliese in the sixth.
“We had that one big inning, where we put the three spot up,” Brindle said. “We had a few good, hard hits in a row. And then, we just couldn’t get anything together.
“I think the kids in this game, because we’ve been telling them to be more aggressive, were maybe a little bit too aggressive, swinging at first pitches, swinging at pitches that weren’t theirs, and kind of just played into [Spokane’s] hands.”
A double by Zach McMurtrey and a Pittsfield error helped fuel a two-run Spokane rally to tie the game in the bottom of the second.
In the fourth, Henry Sandberg reached on a one-out infield single and came all the way around to score when Drew Rayment’s single was misplayed in the outfield, giving Spokane the lead for good.
Blake pitched around a leadoff error in the bottom of the sixth, eventually stranding a runner at third to keep it a one-run game. But Spokane starter Nate Fitzpatrick retired the side in order in the top of the seventh to wrap up a complete-game win.