Championship bound

Westfield’s Brennan Jarvis (7) flies high scoring a run against Agawam in an American Legion Baseball playoff game Thursday night at Bullens Field. (Photo by Marc St. Onge)

WESTFIELD – So far this postseason, the Westfield Post 124 Juniors have been unbeatable.
Westfield posted its second straight one-run victory to begin the American Legion Baseball playoffs, defeating Agawam 5-4 Thursday night at Bullens Field.
Westfield (16-2) advances to the title game Sunday. Game details are TBD.
Just like Wednesday’s game, Westfield struck first and it proved to be a crucial run.
In the second inning, David Tirrell drew a one-out walk and advanced to third with a two-out double in the right-center field gap. Agawam pitcher Ryan Laudato bounced back with a nasty curve ball that the bottom dropped out of to freeze the next batter and escape unscathed.
That was not the case in the next inning.
Jagger Paroline and Paul Shibley singled for Westfield. No. 3 hitter Brian Strange followed with a deep blast to right center field, scoring both base runners. Strange came around to score when upon stealing third base, Agawam threw the ball away. Laudato got the hook.
It was a welcome sight to Westfield manager Billy Lamirande, who argued vehemently that a well-hit ball from Strange down the left field line in the first inning – it kicked up chalk but was ruled to have just missed bouncing over the third base bag – went fair.
Had the foul ball been ruled a hit in the field of play, it likely would have resulted in a double. Westfield kept working though, and it paid off.
Westfield tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning with RBI singles from Brennan Jarvis and Josh Lis to make it 5-0.
Agawam attempted to mount a rally late, drawing consecutive walks to begin the sixth. Laine Page and Michael Santore followed with back-to-back one-out, one-run singles to pull within 5-2. With Colby Gazda on in relief of Tirrell (7 Ks, 4 hits allowed, 3 walks), an error loaded the bases. Zack Wieners followed with a ringing hit that initially scored two runs, but resulted in only one when the second base runner was ruled out for missing third base when rounding the bag for home plate.
Agawam sliced the lead to one on with a Joseph Longo RBI double in the seventh, but Gazda struck out the No. 4 batter to end the game.
“We beat Agawam and Pittsfield three times each this year – you don’t do that in any other league like Little League or Babe Ruth,” Westfield Post 124 Juniors manager Billy Lamirande said. “This is amazing.”
Westfield entered Thursday night’s contest fresh off a thrilling 1-0 win over Pittsfield Wednesday at home.
In that game, Lis pitched six scoreless innings of one-hit ball, striking out eight batters. Strange closed it out by striking out the side in the seventh.
Strange also singled and doubled. Jack LaBombard and Shibley each had a hit.
Westfield delivered a solid defensive effort, helping preserve the shutout.

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