|Great Barrington Pitchers Dominate in BABL Title Series Opener|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
01:28PM / Saturday, August 28, 2021
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Chance O’Neill went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and the Great Barrington Millers defeated BBA, 8-1, in the first game of their best-of-three Berkshire Adult Baseball League Championship series on Saturday morning on Pellerin Field at Clapp Park.
Brooks Belter and Nick Arre combined to strike out 12 over seven innings, and Great Barrington scored four times in the top of the seventh to break open a close game.
The Millers can clinch the BABL 20-year-old Division title on Sunday at 10 a.m. with a win in Great Barrington. If BBA evens the series, the rubber match will be played a 1 p.m.
Saturday’s game started as a pitchers’ duel between Belter and BBA’s Joe Gratton.
The Great Barrington starter struck out six and allowed two hits -- both by Rich Dumas -- over three innings before handing the ball to Arre to start the fourth.
Gratton struck out five and scattered three hits over the first four innings. He also benefited from a double play in the second and picked off a runner at first in the fourth.
Great Barrington finally got to Gratton in the top of the fifth.
After Tyler Spofford was hit by a pitch and Chip Paul worked a walk to start the inning, a stolen base and a wild pitch put two men in scoring position for Tom Ingersoll. Ingersoll delivered a two-run single to right to put the Millers up, 2-0.
BBA answered with a two-out rally in the bottom of the frame.
No. 9 hitter Nathan Murray gave the home team hope with a double to right center. He then scored on a ball to the backstop and an errant throw to third on the same play to cut Great Barrington’s lead in half.
The Millers tacked on a pair of runs in the top of the sixth.
O’Neill and Spencer Cookson each singled, and Spofford and Paul each drove in a run to make it 4-1.
BBA threatened to again put a dent in the lead in the bottom of the inning. But Arre struck out a pair in between three walks and left the bases loaded with a ground ball to the left side that shortstop Anthony Lupiani charged to make a play in the high grass.
Great Barrington then put the game away in the top of the seventh, and Oliver Cookson provided the key hit.
Lupiani started the rally with a one-out double and moved up to third when Ezra Small dropped a single into left.
Then, with two out and men at second and third, Oliver Cookson drove a single up the middle to make it 6-1 and took second on a throw home. O’Neill’s single drove in Cookson, and he scored one batter later on Spencer Cookson’s RBI double to right to make it 8-1.
Arre started the bottom of the seventh with a pair of strikeouts, and after Rich Dumas (3-for-4) singled up the middle, Arre got the final out swinging to end the game.