WESTFIELD – We are in strange times. More accurately, Brian Strange times.
Westfield High School pitcher Brian Strange threw a complete game shutout and scored the eventual game-winning run as the top-seeded Bombers survived a West Division 1 baseball quarterfinal matchup against the No. 8 Agawam Brownies 2-0 Saturday at Bullens Field.
“The adrenaline was pumping; I didn’t really feel anything,” Strange said. “I just did my thing.”
Westfield’s starting pitcher scattered six hits, struck out 11 batters, and even shook off an apparent leg injury after being drilled in the leg with a hard-hit ball as the game wore on.
“Brian is just a gutsy young man,” Westfield baseball head coach Mike Kennedy said. “When he has control of his stuff, he’s dangerous.”
The Bombers were stellar defensively, playing error-free ball and retiring four runners on the base paths via pick off attempt, caught stealing, and a couple of run downs in between the bags.
“We work on everything – bunting, bunt defense, pickoffs, stealing, everything. They work hard and today it paid off.”
Westfield (15-6) scored the game’s only runs in the bottom of the fourth inning when Strange, who reached on a walk, eventually scored on a Colin Scanlon base hit. Baley Collier drew a bases-loaded walk to send Cam Davignon to home plate to make it 2-0.
It’s all Strange and the Bombers would need.
“Agawam is just a great ball club,” coach Kennedy said. “They played us tight in the first game and they beat us, and I just reminded my team that one is just a number. It doesn’t mean anything and come to play like we were the eighth seed.”
Agawam pitcher Matt Talevi suffered a tough-luck loss. Talevi allowed just four hits and four walks while recording 10 Ks through six innings.
Westfield advances to Tuesday’s semifinal game against No. 5 West Springfield (14-7) at Westfield State University at 4 p.m.