Westfield shuts down Northampton in Little League District 2 semifinal

Monday, September 08, 2014
WESTFIELD — The Northampton Little League baseball team had its season come to an end on Wednesday, losing 8-0 against Westfield National in the District 2 Tournament 11/12-year-old semifinal.

“We wanted a real good game, wanted to get more on the board than we did, and to get the bats swinging,” Northampton coach Dave Renauld said. “(Swinging the bats) was the main thing that we wanted.”

Northampton was unable to get on the board against Westfield’s Mikey Hall, who held Hamp to one hit and two walks over five innings. Northampton did not reach base until the third inning, when Jack Diggins and Cole Lavalle both walked to put runners on first and second with one out. However, Hall escaped the jam by striking out Noah Brink and getting a long flyout to center from Orion McLain.

Westfield’s bats were hot from the start, putting up one run in the first, three runs in the second, a run in the third and three more in the fourth. Brink started for Northampton and was relieved by Jacob Matakanski with one out in the third. Brink finished with one strikeout, while Matakanski punched out two.

“We focused a lot on our defense in practice because we know that they’ve got the bats,” Renauld said. “We knew that whoever we put up to pitch against them, they were going to get hits, so we really focused on the defense. We know they love to run, so we worked a lot on the defenses for steals too.”

Evan Renauld recorded Hamp’s only hit in the fourth inning, dropping an infield bloop single down the third-base line which the third baseman had no play on.

Northampton started its all-star season on June 25 and went 3-1 in pool play to qualify for the district semifinals.

“It was the other Westfield team that beat us in pool play, so coming in here we knew we were going to have a challenge, but it was something we were looking forward to,” Dave Renauld said. “We were one of the four teams who did the 11 year-old all-stars, so we had been here last year for the all-star tournament, and it was a great game. I wish we had showed up on the scoreboard a little better this time, but I think we still had a good game.”

Northampton’s Little League teams have been successful this tournament season. Wednesday’s game marked the first time Northampton had reached the 11/12 semifinals since 2009, while the Junior team won its district tournament earlier this month. The Junior team played in a state sectional tournament game on Wednesday but lost 2-1.

“We’re hoping to keep these kids coming out to play more,” Dave Renauld said.

Every one of Northampton Little League’s four regular season teams was represented on the 11/12 year-old team, which is selected by the league’s coaches.

“A lot of these kids, this is the third year they’ve been on all-stars which is really nice,” Dave Renauld said. “At least 75 percent of the kids on this 12-year-old team were also on the 11- and 10-year-old teams. It’s a good mix from our regular season, and they all came together well.”

While Wednesday’s loss ended Northampton’s hopes in the district tournament, the team is lined up to play in Easthampton’s Jimmy Fund Tournament from July 21-27.