DEERFIELD - Trevor Maslowski pitched five one-run innings for Northampton en route to a 7-1 victory over Amherst to seal the Pioneer Valley Youth Baseball league Sandy Koufax championship Tuesday night at Headmaster's Field.
After a 3-2 loss on Sunday in Game 2 of the championshop series, Northampton put the title away in the seventh. It led 2-1 after six innings but broke the game open with five runs.
After Amherst pitcher Ryan Schneider walked both Brady MacDonald and Jack Kelleher-Mochak, Amherst coach Tom Beckwith brought in Marshal Ingram to relieve Schnieder.
Amherst intentionally walked Maslowski to load the bases. Caleb Steiniger walked to bring in MacDonald, followed by a Trey Rios (two hits) two-run single.
“I’ve been hot this whole playoffs,” Rios said. “To get a big hit for my team, it felt good.”
Later in the inning with runners on second and third, Dillon Maggio reached on an error that scored two more to make it 7-1.
Kelleher-Mochak, who threw the final two innings, struck out the final two batters to seal his team’s victory and the summer league crown.
Northampton got the bats going early in the top of the first when Cayden Payne (two hits, RBI) singled in Kelleher-Mochak (hit, walk) from second to make it 1-0.“I was just trying to throw strikes,” Kelleher-Mochak said. “There’s a lot of pressure, but I’ve played a lot of baseball I learned how to deal with it.
Maslowski made quick work of the first three batters he faced and retired them in order.
“It felt really good,” Maslowski said. “My defense also really backed me up.”
After settling in, Amherst pitcher Charlie May did the same and retired the side to start the second inning. His teammates delivered in the bottom half. Marshall Ingram (hit, walk) and Ryan Schneider (two walks) drew back-to-back walks to start the bottom half of the second.
After Mickey Maroulas advanced the runners on a fielder’s choice, a balk by Maslowski brought Ingram home and tied the game at 1.
Northampton took the lead back in the third, MacDonald (hit, walk) led things off with a single and later advanced to third on a close play after Kelleher-Mochak grounded out to shortstop. Payne then reached on an infield single, which brought up Maslowski (hit, intentional walk). He singled in MacDonald to make it 2-1.
Things were relatively quiet over the next three innings for both teams as both Maslowski and May delivered strong performances on the mound.
“Charlie threw a great game,” Beckwith said. “He was moving the ball early, he wanted it and he really backed it up.”
In the bottom of the fourth, Amherst was in a position to tie the game with runners on the corners. Pat Fitzgibbons stole third after he advanced to second on another balk by Maslowski, and Schneider walked.
Maroulas came to the plate and drove a ball to right-center that looked like it was going to fall in the gap until Zev Hiranandani (hit, walk) made a spectacular diving catch for the third out of the inning.
Despite his team’s slow start, Sullivan said he never doubted his team would pull off the win.
“I wasn’t ever nervous,” Sullivan said. “This team the past 10 games, even though we’ve won a lot of games and won decisively, has started slow the past 10 games offensively.”
Although Amherst came up short, Beckwith was very happy with how their season turned out.
“I’m real happy with the way the team developed,” Beckwtih said. “We struggled at the beginning of the year, but as the season went on we did better and in the playoffs we had a great run.”
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