|Pittsfield Brings Deep Lineup to Babe Ruth World Series|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
06:37AM / Thursday, August 11, 2022
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Babe Ruth 13-year-old All-Stars have scored 100 runs in eight games between the Western Massachusetts and New England championship tournaments.
That does not happen without production up and down a very potent lineup.
"You've got someone like Andrew Hammill who, you know, he's a pretty unassuming and quiet guy, but he's just been hitting the ball really hard," Pittsfield coach Ben Stohr said this week.
"We feel like, top to bottom, whatever nine or 10 guys we put out there all bring something to the table. Really, all 14 of them all belong on this team. They've put together competitive at-bats, and I feel comfortable with all of them. We've got guys on base every time I'm in the third-base [coaching] box, and I feel like something big can happen that inning."
Pittsfield's depth was never more on display than in the semi-final and final of last month's New England Regional.
It played those games without either Morrie Fried or Jackson Almeida, who had prior athletic commitments. Fried was hitting over .700 with a home run and five doubles in six games; Almeida was hitting nearly .500 with 14 runs batted in, six doubles and a pair of triples in the same span.
Hammill went 2-for-4, and Pittsfield piled up 16 hits in an 11-4 win over Maine in the semifinals. In the title game, Hammill again went 2-for-4, and the team had nine hits in a 6-0 win over Waterford, Conn.
This week, Pittsfield is back to full strength with all 14 players available as it heads to Glen Allen, Va., for the Babe Ruth World Series.
On Friday, Stohr will lead his squad against Mid-Atlantic Regional Champion from Williamsport, Pa., in the first game of pool play.
The other teams in the tournament's five-team "National Division" are: Southeast Champion Winchester, Va.; Pacific Northwest Champion Willamette Valley, Ore.; and Virginia State Champion Manassas, which beat Winchester, 5-3, in the state final but skipped the regional.
Add in host Glen Allen, which plays in the tournament's American Division, and Virginia has three-teams in the 10-team field.
Pittsfield's Friday morning opener could bring a matchup against Pennsylvania flame-thrower Briar Persing, who struck out eight in three innings of the Pennsylvania state title game and 11 in six innings of the regional final.
"I've been doing some research on that first game," Stohr said as he watched his team in its final full practice at Deming Park on Monday morning. "We're playing Pennsylvania. It seems like they have a legitimate stud pitcher. Strikeout to walk ratio is something like 15 or 16 or something like that.
"But with our guys, as much as that means he's got good stuff, we feel like if they're thrown in the zone, we can put together good at-bats."
In the New England Regional final, Pittsfield faced a Connecticut state championship team that had allowed just four runs total in its first four games and prevailed, 6-0. And the host team, Trumbull, Conn., allowed 32 runs in five games at the regional but more than half, 17, came in a loss to Pittsfield.
Twelve of the 14 Pittsfield players are hitting better than .300 over the last month. Eddie Ferris is hitting .542 and started the all-star season red-hot with a 4-for-4 performance followed by a 3-for-4 game against Westfield.
On the basepaths, Pittsfield has gotten six stolen bases apiece from Connor Paronto and Noah Arnold and four steals from Brendan Socie.
Paronto and Cam Hillard have been the team's workhorses on the mound with 14 innings pitched and 16-and-one-third innings pitched, respectively. Hillard has allowed just one earned run for an ERA of .435 with 20 strikeouts and 12 walks. Paronto has an ERA of 2.00 in five appearances, including a three-inning save of Hillard's win in the regional final.