|Lay Leads Thunder in BABL Playoff Opener|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
03:29PM / Saturday, August 21, 2021
DALTON, Mass. -- Jesus Lay started Saturday's game by making an nearly impossible throw from deep in the hole at shortstop and ended it by tossing a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts on the mound.
In between, he delivered a pair of RBI doubles to lead the Berkshire Thunder to a 15-8, come-from-behind win over the Dalton Moneymakers in the opening of their Berkshire Adult Baseball League playoff series.
Pending the weather, the two teams will look to conclude their best-of-three semi-final in the BABL's 35-year-old Division on Sunday at the American Legion field with Game 2 at 10 and Game 3, if necessary, at 1.
Paul McBride earned the win in the opener, allowing one earned run in two innings of relief of starter Seamus Morrison.
Lay came on to pitch the seventh and bracketed a pair of strikeouts around a ground ball out to Tom Bishop at second.
The Thunder scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning to break open the game after rallying for three in the top of the fifth to tie it, 6-6.
Berkshire actually scored a pair in the top of the first to take an early lead. Jake Barbarotta singled to center to bring home Bishop and Lay for a 2-0 advantage.
But Dalton rallied back with four in the bottom of the inning.
It would have been worse had not Lay ranged deep into the hole and fired to first to rob leadoff man Reid Warner of a sure base hit.
Jarrett Bayliss and Kyle Heilbroun followed Warner with back-to-back doubles, and Bryan Betters singled to give Dalton three straight hits. After Steve Kisiel reached on a run-scoring error, Jeff Aldrich got an RBI single, and Kisiel ended up scoring on Berkshire's second error of the inning to make it 4-2.
The Thunder got one run back in the fourth, but Dalton tacked on two in the bottom of the frame to take a three-run lead.
Frank Philbrick got things started with a single up the middle. Back-to-back errors (Berkshire had six in the game) brought Philbrook around and left runners at the corners with nobody out.
Warner then scored on a delayed double steal with Heilbroun on the back end to make it 6-3.
Berkshire came back to tie it in the fifth after Brad Shove earned a one-out walk and T.J. Hillard executed the hit-and-run to perfectionto put runners at the corners.
Shove scored on an errant pickoff throw, and Morrison worked a walk ahead of Bisohop's sacrifice fly to make it 6-5. Lay then completed the comeback with a two-run double to left-center that scored Morrison.
Berkshire mounted a second one-out rally in the fifth, this time scoring six times thanks to five walks, an infield single by Shove and a two-run double by Lay to make it 12-6.
Dalton scored twice in the sixth before McBride was able to close the door with a man on third.
Matt Marquis and Hillard picked up RBIs as Berkshire scored twice in the top of the seventh to provide the final margin.
The Thunder went on to win its best-of-three series and advance to next weekend's 35-year-old Division Championship Series against the Adams Aces.
The Aces will face the Thunder at 10 a.m. on Saturday in Dalton. The two teams will square off for a second and, possibly, third game starting a 10 a.m. on Sunday at Hoosac Valley High School.
In the 20-year-old Division of the BABL, Great Barrington and BBA won this weekend's semi-finals. They will meet on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Clapp Park in Pittsfield for the start of their championship series; the finals will conclude with a 10 a.m. and, if necessary, 1 p.m. game on Sunday in Great Barrington.