WESTFIELD – The Little League Baseball 11-12-Year-Old All-Stars district championship double-elimination tournament game carried an air of electricity in more ways than one.
Amherst bashed three home runs in a slugfest with Westfield American to stave off elimination with a 12-7 win Friday night at Ralph E. Sanville Field on Cross Street. The game picked up in the bottom of the second after being postponed Thursday night due to storms.
The two teams will meet again in the penultimate game Saturday at Miller Recreation Park in Amherst at 1 p.m.
Westfield American wasted no time in reclaiming a lead as play resumed Friday night. They trailed 4-3.
After Amherst pitcher Nate Mills forced a ground out, Troy Hevey and Alex LaCourse smacked RBI singles to give Westfield American the lead, 5-4.
Amherst continued to sizzle at the plate. Ben Oates doubled with one out, and advanced on a wild pitch. Ryan Leonard soon followed with a 2-run homer to right field to go up, 6-5.
Maxwell Edwards clubbed another one, a solo shot for Amherst to lead off the fifth inning. A walk, a pair of wild pitches, and an Evan Dooley RBI single gave the visitors an 8-5 advantage.
Meanwhile, Amherst pitcher Nate Mills, who started as the game resumed Tuesday, continued to keep Westfield American at bay, retiring six of seven batters – four by way of the strikeout – through the middle innings, until the home town boys responded in the fifth.
Hevey reached base on an error to begin the fifth. LaCourse followed with a single through the left side. With one out, Aidan King and Kareem Zaghloul hit consecutive run-scoring singles to pull within one run of a tie, 8-7. Mills settled down though in time to retire two straight batters with the bases loaded to end the threat.
No. 3 batter Alex Irizarry (4-for-4), who cracked a towering two-run home run over the right-center field fence in the top of the first inning to begin the game Thursday, hit a lead-off double to begin the sixth. Liam Coghlin singled, and Edwards walked to load the bases. After a pitching change, Jeremy Torres smacked a two-run single. Silas Bishop hit an RBI single for an 11-7 lead. Another single, another run, and it was 12-7.
Mills sent Westfield American down 1-2-3, first two by strikeout, to force a decisive Saturday game.
The championship game began with some fireworks Thursday.
After Irizarry’s homer, Dan Provost responded with a two-run single for Westfield American. An Aidan King RBI made it 3-2.
Amherst responded with five consecutive hits to take a 4-3 lead. Westfield American fought back, putting runners on base before thunder clapped, lightning struck in the distance, and the game was postponed.
10-11-YEAR-OLD ALL-STARS SECTIONALS
Nats drop sectionals opener
Holden 13, Westfield National 1
Josh Mayo scored the lone Westfield National run, knocking in Ethan Porter with a base hit.
Westfield National returns to action Sunday at Papermill Field, beginning at 2 p.m.