WESTFIELD – It may have been just the first time that the Westfield American 7-9-year-old Little Leaguers played as an All-Star baseball squad, but it sure didn’t look like.
Westfield American pitcher Ted Dunn struck out nine batters, and the All-Star team from the Whip City defeated Southampton 13-3 in four innings Thursday night at Cross Street Field.
“It was our first game together,” Westfield American manager Mike Dunn said. “We have a bunch of new kids – six from instructional league – who have never stolen a base before. We had a lot of practices stealing on passed balls, stealing, stealing, stealing.”
Westfield collected hits, stole bases, and made tough routine plays look easy.
The Americans raced out of the gate with a 3-0, first-inning lead, manufactured one run in the second, tacked on five runs in the third and another four in the fourth.
Eli Perez (4 runs scored), Ryan Garvey (3 runs), Dunn (3 runs), and Nate Pudlo (bases-loaded, 3-run double) paved the way on offense for Westfield.
The Westfield battery also teamed up for an electric play when a Southampton batter collected a hit, stole second and third base, and attempted to steal home on a passed ball that hit the backstop. Pudlo tracked down the ball and fired to Dunn, who was covering home plate. Dunn tagged out the base runner.
“That was the first time they ever had to do that,” coach Dunn said. “That was fantastic.”
Westfield American returns to action following the holiday break when it hosts Agawam on Cross Street Field Monday at 6 p.m. The Nationals, who opened with Easthampton Thursday night, host Longmeadow on Monday too. First pitch for that game is also set for 6.