|Pittsfield 10-Year-Olds Score Six in Sixth Inning in Tourney Win|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
04:48PM / Saturday, July 17, 2021
|Pittsfield manager B.J. Jefferson, center, fires up his team before its sixth-inning rally.|
LONGMEADOW, Mass. -- The Pittsfield Little League American Division 10-year-olds proved Saturday that there is strength in numbers.
Jackson Boehm, the last of six reserves for Pittsfield to crack the lineup, hit a leadoff single in the top of the sixth to ignite a six-run rally that gave Pittsfield a 9-5 win over Longmeadow in the Section 1 tournament.
No. 3 hitter Aiden Arsenault and cleanup man Cooper Reed delivered back-to-back two-run doubles in the middle of the game-winning rally, but it all started with Boehm, the third player to hit in the No. 8 spot in the lineup.
"It was nice to see Jackson come off the bench, take a nice simple swing, make contact, basehit up the middle, and, yeah, that got it started," Pittsfield manager B.J. Jefferson said.
"I hate just getting kids one at-bat. I like to try to get them in the field. But certain situations call for certain players to play certain positions. And every kid that I have on this team has a different role. And they perform, most of the time, when their role is called."
Arseneau was called upon to carry the bulk of the load on the mound on Saturday, and he was in the strike zone all day, allowing just two walks and one earned run.
Pittsfield lost the coin toss but won the first inning, scoring twice before Longmeadow picked up its bats.
Jack Wendling lead off with a single, and Ryan Albuquerque drew a walk. After a pitch to the backstop put both runners in scoring position, Matthew Keegan singled to left-center to give his team a 2-0 lead.
An error on Pittsfield's first defensive play of the game gave Longmeadow a leadoff baserunner, who eventually scored on Nick Reyngold's double to make it 2-1.
Pittsfield extended its lead in the top of the third when Arseneeau walked and moved around on three balls to the backstop to make 3-1.
In the bottom of the inning, a disputed call at first base opened the door for four Longmeadow runs.
The hosts put men on second and third with nobody out, but Aresneau struck out the next two at the top of the Longmeadow lineup to keep them off the board.
The next batter hit a shot up the middle that ticked off Arseneau's glove to Kydd Kearns at second. Kearns grabbed the ball and threw to first in time to get the batter.
The home plate umpire -- working the game solo due to a late cancelation by his planned partner -- rushed up the line and gave an emphatic out call, prompting the Americans to start celebrating and run off the field.
As they did, the umpire reversed himself, deciding that the ball was dropped at first. He awarded home to the runner who was at third, put runners on the corners and allowed the inning to continue.
Longmeadow cashed in on the momentum by pulling off a delayed double steal for the tying run and getting an Owen Hunter RBI single to make it 4-3.
"It was interesting, when we first got here, I didn't see them as focused as they were before other games," Jefferson said. "But as the game went on, and they had to overcome some close calls and a couple of errors on our part, they seemed to bond together and rise to the occasion and overcome everything they had to to win this game."
Longmeadow added an insurance run in the fifth to put Pittsfield down by two runs with just three outs to go.
After Boehm's leadoff hit, Kearns, Wendling and Albuquerque worked consecutive walks to drive in Jackson and keep the bases loaded with Pittsfield down, 5-4.
Arseneau then delivered a double to center field to give his team a 6-5 lead. Reed's doubleplated Albuquerque and Arseneau and brought on Longmeadow's fourth pitcher of the game.
He was able to stop the bleeding, but only after Alec Houghtaling brought Reed home when he reached on a fielder's choice, making it 9-5.
Arseneau retired the only batter he faced in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a heads-up play in the field.
Longmeadow's leadoff batter hit a shot to left that fell in for a double. Oren Lewis hustled to the ball and hit the cutoff man, Wendling, who fired to third to catch the batter trying to extend the double into a triple.
With Arseneau at the end of his pitch count, Keegan went to the mound to record a strikeout and a ground ball to second to end the game.
"We never had to come from behind for a win," Jefferson said. "Especially that late in the game. It might have been we were down one in the firt or second inning. But down to the last three outs, down two runs, that was a gutsy performance."