WESTFIELD – The Agawam Little League Baseball Majors All-Stars were shooting on all cylinders, signaling the end for Westfield’s run in the district tournament.
Agawam pitcher Gavin Slosher tossed a five-hit shutout, striking out nine batters over 5 2/3 innings in a 2-0 win over Westfield in the 12U District 2 championship Thursday night at Ralph E. Sanville Memorial Field on Cross Street.
Adam Ross delivered the game-winning hit in the fourth, scoring two unearned runs.
Runs were hard to come by for both teams as Westfield pitcher Tyrus Traska was equally effective, allowing just three hits. He recorded seven Ks.
Both teams managed to get a runner on base in the first inning – Traska was hit by a one-out pitch and Agawam lead-off batter Parker Bean doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch – but the opposing pitchers both proceeded to get out of the inning rather easily.
In the second inning, again only one batter reached base for each team. Westfield’s Nick Gauger singled, but Slosher retired the next three batters. Agawam’s Terrence Chung drew a one-out walk from Traska, but Traska responded by striking out the next two batters to end that threat.
Westfield put a bit more pressure on Agawam in the third when Traska singled and Josh Wagner doubled to center field, both with two outs. Slosher recovered though to strike out the next batter.
In the bottom of the third inning, Westfield came up with one of the game’s biggest defensive plays when the Whip City’s All-Stars recorded a double play with a fly ball catch by the left fielder who subsequently doubled off the runner at third base, who umpires ruled had left the bag early.
Gauger reached base with a walk to begin the top of the fourth, but Slosher came back with three straight outs.
Westfield unraveled a bit in the fourth inning. Two errors led to a two-run single from Adam Ross that found an open piece of right field grass. Both runs were unearned.
Ethan Connors singled for Westfield in the top of the fifth, but he was left stranded. It was his team’s final hit of the game.
Slosher struck out two consecutive Westfield batters in the sixth before reaching the league’s pitch limit (85). Jonah Higby earned a save by striking out the final batter to end the game.
Westfield 21, Longmeadow 11
Westfield rallied from a 9-0, first-inning deficit, striking back in dramatic fashion.
Jameson Cotto went 2-for-2 with 3 walks, 2 RBIs, 2 RBIs, 4 runs), Nick Madsen went 3-for-3 with 2 walks, 3 RBIs, 3 runs), and Dominic Matyseck had a big hit, knocking in two runs for Westfield.
Westfield’s Carsen Michelucci (4 Ks, 0 runs allowed) and Coen Marchacos (4 Ks, 2 runs allowed) came in and pitched two strong innings apiece.
Westfield finishes off round robin play Saturday against Agawam at Ralph E. Sanville Field at 12:30 p.m.
BABE RUTH BASEBALL
Pittsfield 16, Westfield 4
Westfield dropped the Western Mass state tournament opener at Bullens Field. The Whip City’s All-Star team of Babe Ruth players returns to action in the best-of-3 series Friday night on the road against Pittsfield at Clapp Park at 5:30 p.m.
AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL
Westfield Post 124 4, Monson Post 241 3
Devin Baker gave up 10 hits, allowed base runners in six of seven innings, and yet was in complete control in Westfield’s win over Monson.
When Monson cut into Westfield’s 3-0 lead with a pair of first-inning runs and had runners at first and second with no outs, Baker took over. He fielded a slow roller in front of the mound and got the force at second. Catcher Jack Blake threw out a runner at third base before Baker busted James Berthiaume inside for a harmless pop to first. Inning over.
With a man on second in the second, Baker struck out the leadoff hitter to end the inning.
In the third, Monson made it 4-3 and had the tying run on second, but Baker struck out Berthiaume on four pitches.
Monson put runners at second and third in the sixth and seventh innings, but both times Baker forced harmless fly balls to close out each inning. He finished with six strikeouts and no walks, throwing 99 pitches for the complete-game win.
The win was important in Westfield’s playoff chase.
Westfield entered the game as the ninth team by percentage points, one place out of the top eight and a berth in the playoffs. The top eight teams have changed every day this week and likely will continue to change as teams finish out their schedules Friday and Saturday.
Westfield plays at home against East Springfield on Friday (7 p.m. at Bullens) and twice vs. Longmeadow on Saturday (1 p.m. at Jachym and 5:45 p.m. at Longmeadow High School).
Spencer Cloutier beat out a ground ball into the shortstop hole to start the game for Westfield. Steve McKenna followed with a line drive to left. Blake hit a two-strike double to right-center, scoring both Cloutier and McKenna. Blake stole third on a ball in the dirt and scored when Logan Krol beat a dropped third strike throw to first.
Westfield made it 4-2 in the second when Mike Durkee led off with a double and took third on McKenna’s sacrifice fly to right. Blake reached on the first of his two intentional walks and, when the throw to second got past the bag, Durkee scored from third.
In both the fourth and sixth innings, Westfield had chances to break the game open. With bases loaded in the fourth, a third-to-home-to-first double play ended the inning. In the sixth with two outs, an easy ground ball put an end to the rally. – JOHN BLAKE
FUTURES COLLEGIATE BASEBALL LEAGUE
Westfield Starfires 13, Bristol Blues 7
Danny Crossen and Andrew Ciacciarelli each went 2-for-5 for Westfield. Ciacciarelli also doubled, walked and drove in three runs. Starfires’ Elijah Dale finished with a hit, walk, run and three RBIs.
LITTLE LEAGUE SOFTBALL
Westfield 19, Agawam 2
Westfield captured the district championship in convincing fashion.
Julia Bonfitto led off the game with a single, and stole her way around the bases for a 1-0 lead that Westfield never relinquished. Westfield broke the game open with seven runs in the second inning, tacked on two in the third and capped off the scoring with nine more in the fourth.
Bonfitto went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, four runs and five RBIs. Sydney LaPanne (two runs, two RBIs) and Isabella Potenza (2 walks, 2 RBIs) each had two hits, Ava Rastallis and Gianna Capua both came off the bench to combine for three hits and four runs, Kaleigh Little had a loud triple and knocked in two runs, and Emma Nelson had a hit, three walks, and scored two runs for Westfield.
Westfield’s Heidi Boisseau, Riley Davidson, Katie Bouchard and Jayliani Santiago each scored a run.
Julia Bonfitto continued to pitch well for Westfield as she allowed two runs over four innings while giving up two hits and three walks. She struck out seven, and was supported by some fine defensive plays in the field.
Bonfitto totaled 39 strikeouts in 16 innings against Agawam this postseason.
Westfield advanced to the state semifinal in Lynn beginning July 20.