Division 3 baseball: Mount Greylock shuts down South Hadley in semifinals

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

@kylegrbwsk

Published: 06-08-2017 10:43 PM

SPRINGFIELD — Mount Greylock pitcher Cole Wojtkowski befuddled the South Hadley baseball team the first time through the lineup.

Once the top-seeded Tigers saw how he pitched, they adjusted.

The No. 5 Mounties built a double-digit lead while South Hadley figured out a strategy, and held on for a 12-2 win in Thursday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament semifinal.

“Mount Greylock certainly jumped out on us quick,” South Hadley coach Matt Foley said.

Greylock scored two runs in the first and second innings to build a 4-0 lead at Western New England.

“We’ve been a team that has scored first a lot this year, and I think when they scored first we were kind of on our heels a little bit,” Foley said.

The Mounties staggered the Tigers with an uppercut in the third inning. They scored six runs on three hits with one error and forced the Tigers to make two pitching changes.

Nehemiah Wilson started and took the loss. Foley opted for Evan Levrault after Wilson walked Reece Gillette to start the third.

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Levrault faced nine Greylock batters and registered two outs as the lead stretched to 10-0.

“It’s always big in baseball to get an early lead, it settles things down,” Greylock coach Steve Messina said. “You can pitch with a little more finesse. It makes everybody more relaxed when you have an early lead.”

An error in the outfield allowed the inning to continue when a catch would have ended the inning at 7-0. South Hadley (16-6) had four errors in the game.

“That’s never good. The errors are uncharacteristic of our team,” Foley said.

After Greylock batted around, Foley went with senior Ryan Mooney on the mound. He started in the Tigers’ quarterfinal win over Greenfield on Monday and was unavailable in that role Thursday.

“He’s been our ace all year long,” Foley said. “Certainly I would have gone earlier to him, but we had to figure out how many innings he could possibly go in that game before he wasn’t effective.”

Mooney threw 4⅓ innings of relief. He struck out three and allowed two unearned runs.

“It was kind of hard to go back-to-back,” Mooney said. “Once they start hitting the ball there’s not much you can do about it.”

South Hadley started hitting the ball in the fourth inning. Levrault led off with a single, and Wilson followed with a double to put runners on second and third with no outs.

David Adams brought Levrault across with a groundout to cut the deficit to 11-1, then Nate Poirier hit a sacrifice fly to make it 11-2.

We had a much better approach once we went through the lineup one time,” Foley said.

That was all the Tigers could manage against Wojtkowski. He finished with seven strikeouts and allowed five hits.

Wojtkowski kept South Hadley off balance with his outside fastball and stayed ahead with first-pitch strikes before going to his changeup and curveball.

“He really pitched well, like pitched,” Foley said. “He threw balls when he needed to throw balls and kept us off balance.”

It was the final game for South Hadley seniors Kyle Gemme, Chance Almonte, Mooney, Wilson, Stephen Poreda, Poirier and Teddy Doyle.

“You can never replace the outgoing senior class,” Foley said. “All year long we hit the ball well, and you can’t replace those bats.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowsi@gazettenet.com.

Mount Greylock 12,
South Hadley 2

Mount Greylock          226 100 1 — 12 10 1

South Hadley              000 200 0 — 2 5 4

WP—Wojtkowski LP—Wilson

Records: South Hadley (16-6) Mountt Greylock (16-4)

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