BELCHERTOWN – The Westfield Post 124 Juniors ran into a road block – his name was Ryan Gaughan.
Belchertown pitcher Ryan Gaughan scattered seven hits, striking out four batters and walking just one in a seven-inning shutout of Westfield, 4-0, in American Legion Junior Division baseball action Friday night at Belchertown High School.
At first it appeared as if Westfield would be the first to score.
Westfield threatened to put the game’s first run across in the top of the first when Trent Adam (2-for-3) and Jake Labombard (2-for-3) each singled and stole second to put two runners in scoring position before Gaughan came back to force a ground out to end the inning.
Westfield exuded sensational lock-down defense in the second inning with Post 124 shortstop Brennan Jarvis snaring a sinking line drive deep in the hole and then Zabielski immediately picking off the base runner at first base in the next at-bat.
Westfield would not be so fortunate an inning later.
Belchertown loaded the bases with consecutive singles from Jack Gelinas and Austin Endelos, and a walk from Graham Perlak. With one out, Caleb Boyko hit a high fly ball that dropped in in right center-field for two runs. Two more runs scored on the next at-bat when a similiar hit from Ryan Zawistowski nearly fell in the exact same spot for a 4-0 lead.
Labombard managed a hit for Westfield in the fourth, but was caught stealing. Post 124 threatened again in the fifth – Tucker Carey (2-for-3) singled through the right side of the infield; Brody Zabielski singled through the left – but a ground out killed the rally.
Belchertown flirted with some insurance runs in the fifth as two batters reached on consecutive base hits to begin the inning, but Zabielski recovered in time to retire the next three batters on ground outs.
Trent Adam came up with Westfield’s biggest hit in the sixth, smashing a towering hit to center field that one-hopped into the woods for a ground rule double. In some other parks, the hit easily would have resulted in a triple and maybe even a home run. Adam was eventually stranded at third base.
A single from Carey, a walk, and a wild pitch threatened to cut into Belchertown’s lead in the seventh. Gaughan forced a fly out and struck out the No. 2 batter to end the game.
“Once again, the difference in this game was defense,” Westfield Post 124 Juniors manager Tony Paroline said. “A sky-high pop-fly turned into a four-run inning.”
Westfield will look to rebound in a double header Sunday that begins at Longmeadow at 2 p.m., followed by another road contest at East Longmeadow, 5:30. Post 124 returns home against East Longmeadow Tuesday at Jachym Field.
FUTURES COLLEGIATE BASEBALL LEAGUE
Brockton Rox 2, Westfield Starfires 1
Eddy Hart went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and Mike Sabatine doubled and scored two runs, and the Brockton Rox (19-16) staved off a late comeback from the Westfield Starfires (12-25).
Brockton pitchers Nick Sinacola and Owen Langan tossed a combined four-hitter, striking out eight batters apiece. Westfield pitcher Mason St. Pierre scattered six hits in 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs (one of which was earned) and striking out 13.
LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL NOTES: Saturday’s Little League Baseball 9-Year-Old All-Star game between Westfield and Agawam has been cancelled. Agawam forfeited the game due to a lack of players. Westfield’s next game will come against Easthampton in the championship Monday. The site and time will be announced later this weekend.