No. 1 ITI, No. 2 Batter’s Box advance; teams meet Sunday

Batter’s Box’s Ben King slides in safely at second base as the ball slips past Advance MFG’s Andre Phaneuf during a Greater Westfield Babe Ruth League Dan Welch City Cup tournament game Thursday night at Bullens Field. (MARC ST.ONGE/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

WESTFIELD – No lead was safe for any of the big boys in Thursday night’s Greater Westfield Babe Ruth Dan Welch City Cup tournament. No. 2 Batter’s Box caught third-seeded Advance MFG napping early and held on late, while the tournament’s top seed, ITI, rallied from a 6-0 deficit to defeat fourth-seeded Westfield Bank 9-7.

No. 1 ITI 9, No. 4 Westfield Bank 7
No. 4 Westfield Bank carried over momentum from a first round victory, piling up six runs over the first four innings.
In the first inning, Dacota Durkee singled, stole second base, and scored on a Jacob Wagner RBI single. Wagner scored on an error.
In the third, Deven Werbiskis reached on an outfield error and Durkee singled. Both runners scored on a towering triple from Wagner to deep right center field. Westfield Bank led 4-0.
Westfield Bank increased its lead to 6-0 in the fourth. Joey Caldarella walked and Shea Byrnes reached on an error. A perfect sac-bunt from Raymond Vergara advanced the runners. Then, a Noah Luis line drive single up the middle scored both runners, figuratively knocking the ITI starter from the mound. Westfield Bank threatened to make it more by loading the bases in the inning, but reliever Anthony Mello ended the threat with a ground out, ending the inning.
Westfield Bank appeared to be in the driver’s seat, but ITI finally arrived and put the brakes on an early celebration.
Jay Scherpa got the rally started for Westfield Bank in the fourth inning, walking and stealing second and third bases as a botched run down failed to net an out. Dylan King hammered a run-scoring triple to right-center field. Ryan LaPoint knocked in King with a single. He stole second base. Aiden Poirier reached on an error. A line drive single from Paul Lawry down the third base line kept things going. Nicholas Lenfest’s ground out scored a run. With two outs, Bryan Bolio smacked a line drive single up the middle to make it a one-run game.
ITI surged ahead in the fifth when Eli Petrone and Jay Scherpa reached on consecutive two-singles and scored on a blistering LaPoint two-out triple to center field.
Westfield Bank made it a new ball game in the top of the sixth. Caldarella walked to lead off the inning, Byrnes singled. Another successful sac-bunt from Vergara scored Caldarella, knotting the game at 7-all.
ITI reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the inning when Westfield Bank’s bullpen faltered. Lawry, Lenfest, and Kyle Scherpa were issued consecutive free passes. With one out and the bases loaded, LaPoint and Ethan Connors drew back-to-back walks to make it 9-7.
Petrone, who came on in relief with two outs in the fifth, retired the side 1-2-3 in the seventh to end the game.
Westfield Bank (1-1) will look to stave off elimination when it faces No. 6 Berkshire Insurance Group (0-1) in an elimination game Saturday at Bullens Field at 4 p.m. ITI (1-0) moves on to face No. 2 Batter’s Box (1-0) in a matchup of tournament unbeatens Sunday night at 7.

No. 2 Batter’s Box 6, No. 3 Advance MFG 3
It was a disastrous start for Advance MFG, one that would haunt them all game.
An opportunistic Batter’s Box team took advantage of three Advance fielding errors, a run-scoring balk and run-scoring wild pitch, doubles from Jake Jachym and Connor Niemiec, a RBI single from Sawyer King, and Noah Gardner RBI (fielder’s choice), all in the first inning as the third seed led 6-0 from the outset.
Advance began chipping away at the lead midway through the game.
In the first inning, Dylan Arooth singled off Batter’s Box starting pitcher Jake Jachym, driving the ball through the right side of the infield. When he came up to the plate in the fourth, he singled through the other side of the field, knocking in his team’s first run off Batter’s Box reliever Ted Dunn. Advance loaded the bases, but Dunn got out of the jam with a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.
Advance flirted with putting some more runs up on the board in the fifth with a single from Cam Hoynoski, a hit-by-pitch, and walk off reliever Sawyer King. King recovered though to force a fly out to end the threat unscathed.
Advance closed the gap in the sixth, scoring on a RBI single from Nick Gauger and bases-loaded walk from Andre Phaneuf.
It is the closest that Advance would get.
Hoynoski retired the side 1-2-3 in the seventh inning, sandwiching a pair of Ks around a fly-out to end the game.
Advance MFG (1-1) next takes on Cortina Tile (0-1) in a loser’s bracket contest Saturday at 7 p.m. The winners of Cortina Tile-Advance MFG and Westfield Bank-BIG will meet Sunday at 4 p.m.

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