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Darkness ends Northampton’s American Legion baseball win against Greenfield

  • Pat Grygorcewicz, left, of Northampton Post 28, celebrates with Mike Mieczkowski as he scores against Greenfield Post 81 at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Pat Grygorcewicz, top, of Northampton Post 28, picks off Danny Szafran of Greenfield Post 81 at first base, Friday during the American Legion playoffs at Arcanum Field in Florence. Northampton won 11-8 when the game was called after six innings due to darkness. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Adam Hallenbeck, left, of Greenfield Post 81, tries unsuccessfully to pick off Hector DeJesus of Northampton Post 28 at first base, Friday during the American Legion playoffs at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Ian Ostberg of Northampton Post 28 rounds home plate to score against Greenfield Post 81 July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Pat Grygorcewicz of Northampton Post 28, right, picks off Danny Szafran of Greenfield Post 81 at first base July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Ian Ostberg of Northampton Post 28 runs to home plate to score against Greenfield Post 81 July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Zac Brittain of Northampton Post 28 pitches July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs against Greenfield Post 81 at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Pat Grygorcewicz of Northampton Post 28, right, swings at the ball while catcher Zach Mooney of Greenfield Post 81 prepares for it July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Catcher Andrew Serio of Northampton Post 28, right, looks to catch the ball while Zach Mooney of Greenfield Post 81 slips past him to score July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Will O'Connor of Northampton Post 28 pitches July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs against Greenfield Post 81 at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Will O'Connor of Northampton Post 28 pitches July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs against Greenfield Post 81 at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Ian Ostberg of Northampton Post 28, center, gathers with his teammates between innings July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs against Greenfield Post 81 at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Andrew Serio of Northampton Post 28, right, swings at the ball while catcher Zach Mooney of Greenfield Post 81 prepares for it July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Pat Grygorcewicz of Northampton Post 28, center, runs across home plate to score against Greenfield Post 81 July 14, 2017 during the American Legion playoffs at Arcanum Field in Florence. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



@kylegrbwsk
Friday, July 14, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — Greenfield Post 81’s Zach Mooney, Owen MacPhee and Tyler Townsley waited outside their Arcanum Field dugout, helmets on and bats in hand.

Post 81 trailed Northampton Post 28 by three runs after six innings Friday in the Western Massachusetts American Legion playoffs and waited to bat in the seventh inning.

The opportunity never arose.

The umpires declared the game over because of darkness, and Northampton won 11-8 to remain unbeaten in the double-elimination tournament.

“I think they totally should have given us a chance to tie the game,” Greenfield coach Kyle Phelps said. “We feel like we won the second half of the game and were coming back. The umps took it away from us not giving us a chance.”

The umpires made the decision because they didn’t think there was enough time, should Greenfield tie the game, for Northampton to get its at-bats in the bottom of the seventh. They pointed to the standard they operate under: if most of the cars are driving with their lights on, and if parking lot lights and streetlights came on then it is too dark to play.

“It was a safety thing. I was disappointed at first, but their explanation made sense,” Northampton coach Chuck Holt said.

Northampton will host Agawam at noon Saturday followed by a 5:45 game against an opponent to be determined. Greenfield hosts Westfield at noon in an elimination game.

Both Northampton and Greenfield wanted to play the seventh inning Friday. Post 28 was heading on the field to warm up when the umpires called the game.

“It doesn’t feel quite as satisfying to have it shortened by rain, especially when they had this momentum to get back in the game,” Holt said. “We’d rather shut the door on that.”

Greenfield pulled within striking distance of Northampton with five runs in the sixth inning. Trevor Mankowsky led off with a single against Will O’Connor then advanced to third on a Zach Mooney (2-for-3, two runs) double. MacPhee walked to load the bases before Townsley made it 11-4 with an RBI single. Danny Szafran and Bergmann also had RBI singles in the inning.

“They got up big, thought they were going to beat us, we started coming back and they kind of took the coward’s way out and called it,” Greenfield pitcher Ben Arnold said. “They’re not really worried about my head on the mound when I was out there.”

Greenfield also scored three runs in the fourth inning. Three straight singles loaded the bases, then MacPhee walked to drive in Post 81’s first run.

Colin Cloutier (2-for-4, two runs) added an RBI groundout, and Mooney came around to score on a throw to first following a dropped third strike to make it 7-3.

“We were all in the game the whole game,” Arnold said. “We all believed.”

Those two outbursts weren’t enough to match Northampton’s surges. Post 28 scored four runs in both the fourth and second innings, and three in the first.

Ian Ostberg and Pat Grygorcewicz led the way with three RBIs each.

Ostberg hit a two-run triple in the bottom of the first to kick off the scoring.

“One of the strengths of our team has been getting on teams early,” Ostberg said. “The first two runners did a great job getting on for me, and I was lucky to get a first-pitch curveball.”

Hector DeJesus and Tim Horton, the first two hitters in Northampton’s lineup, each scored three runs setting the table.

Mike Mieczkowski and O’Connor also drove in runs, while seven Northampton players had hits.

“The strongest thing about our offense is we know if one guy doesn’t get the job done, the next guy will,” Ostberg said. “We’re so reliant on each other and we trust each other that we’re not nervous and we don’t put too much pressure on our individual at bats.”

DeJesus picked up the win in relief after Zac Brittain started the game with three strong innings, allowing one hit with a strikeout. Holt wanted to limit his pitches so Brittain could throw more over the weekend and give opportunities to pitchers who hadn’t thrown in a while. He left with a 7-0 lead.

“If I knew they were going to score as many as they did I maybe would have chosen something different,” Holt said. “I’ll give Greenfield a lot of credit, they just kept hitting.”

Greenfield doesn’t want Friday to be the last time it sees Northampton.

“I would rather see these guys than anybody else,” Arnold said.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.

Northampton 11, Greenfield 8 (6)

Greenfield          000 305 — 8 8 3

Northampton    340 400 — 11 8 2

WP—DeJesus LP—Doyle

Records: Northampton (19-1) Greenfield (11-8)