Pitching, Defense Come Up B.I.G.

Members of the Berkshire Insurance Group gather for a photo after winning the Amanti Cup during last night's Babe Ruth game against Cortina Tile. (Photo by Frederick Gore/

Members of the Berkshire Insurance Group gather for a photo after winning the Amanti Cup during last night’s Babe Ruth game against Cortina Tile. (Photo by Frederick Gore/

WESTFIELD – Berkshire Insurance Group has had its chances to take home the Amanti Cup in recent memory. Last year, B.I.G. fell in the championship round to Cortina Tile. This year, the two teams faced off in the finals once again.
As the No. 1 seed, B.I.G led the way throughout the regular season, but fell in a tightly-contested Wednesday night showdown, forcing a winner-take-all Thursday night.
This time, the Green and Gold lifted the Cup.
A combination of stout pitching, shutdown defense and a few key hits proved to be enough as the top seed fended off No. 2 Cortina Tile, 3-1, at Bullens Field.
“We started off the year behind because of the winter with a lot of errors in the first few games,” said Head Coach John Garde. “I said this was not going to happen at the end of the season. You guys are going to be a lot better and improve. We practiced a lot and they played really well. They played great defense.”
Matt Masciadrelli earned the start for the designated visitors and threw a two-hit shutout during his five innings of work. The Saint Mary’s High School standout handcuffed a potent Cortina Tile lineup, retiring 10 in a row early in the game.
“I’m just really excited that our team pulled it together. We kept playing all seven innings,” said Masciadrelli. “I just approached it like a normal game, not like it was anything special.”
Once again, B.I.G manufactured a first-inning run, this time taking an early lead. After Jim Hagan’s double put a runner in scoring position with two outs, Masciadrelli lined a single to plate Hagan.
The 1-0 lead lasted until the fifth inning, when B.I.G added some much-needed insurance. With two on and two out, Alex Hall hit a sharp liner into the hole at shortstop. Dalen Mochak, who was running on contact, hustled around third base and slid past the tag at home plate to increase their lead to 2-0.
Mochak factored in the final run of the game as well, slapping an RBI single to the outfield to easily score Masciadrelli from second base in the seventh inning, capping off a great bounce-back effort.
“We’ve come back all year. We took first place for a reason,” said Garde. “They needed to come out and relax and not play scared. As long as we don’t make errors, we’ll be alright.”
Cortina Tile broke the shutout in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two out and Sean Mitchell on second base, Garrett Collis lined an RBI single to cut the deficit to 2-1.
John Daley dueled Masciadrelli at the beginning of the game, tossing five innings of his own, while allowing a pair of runs on two hits.
For many players on both teams, the focus now shifts to All-Stars, with tournament play to continue at Bullens Field throughout the remainder of the summer.

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