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Northampton Post 28 reaches Western Mass American Legion baseball final series after beating Westfield

  • Zac Brittain, of Northampton Post 28, watches his single against Westfield Post 124, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Pat Grygorcewicz, of Northampton Post 28, right, logs a triple as Anthony Riga, of Westfield Post 124, prepares to catch, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hector DeJesus, of Northampton Post 28, right, steals third against Anthony Riga, of Westfield Post 124, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton Post 28 players Tim Horton, left, and Ian Ostberg celebrate their win against Westfield Post 124, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tim Horton, of Northampton Post 28, bats against Westfield Post 124, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. His hit was caught in right field. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton Post 28 players Hector DeJesus, left, and Ian Ostberg, front, and Will O'Connor celebrate their win against Westfield Post 124, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton Post 28 shortstop Ian Ostberg throws to first for an out against Stefan Krol, of Westfield Post 124, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Zac Brittain, of Northampton Post 28, gets tagged out at home by Westfield Post 124 catcher J.D. Huntley, while trying to score on a hit by Hector DeJesus, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Brandon Zaikowski, of Northampton Post 28, pitches to Westfield Post 124, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton Post 28 shortstop Ian Ostberg, right, fields the ball as Jack Blake, of Westfield Post 124, left, makes it to second on a hit from Anthony Riga, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. Tim Horton backs up the play. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hector DeJesus, of Northampton Post 28, eyes a pitch he hit for a double against Westfield Post 124, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton Post 28 catcher Andrew Serio tags out Anthony Riga, of Westfield Post 124, as he tries to leap over him to score Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Anthony Riga, of Westfield Post 124, left, is upended after trying to leap Northampton Post 28 catcher Andrew Serio, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. Riga was tagged out. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kevin Banas, of Northampton Post 28, avoids an inside pitch from Westfield Post 124, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. He earned a walk during this at-bat. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kevin Banas, of Northampton Post 28, pitches to Westfield Post 124, Sunday at Arcanum Field in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



For the Gazette
Sunday, July 16, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — Northampton Post 28 secured a spot in the best-of-three championship series of the Western Massachusetts American Legion playoffs Sunday with a 5-3 win over Westfield Post 124.

Northampton will play at Arcanum Field on Tuesday against the winner of Monday’s game between East Springfield and Pittsfield. The winner of the series will travel to the state tournament in Milford on July 22.

“Whoever we’re playing, we’re playing a really good team, so we better be ready,” Northampton coach Chuck Holt said. “We need to just get a little rest (Monday) and then make sure that we’re playing our best baseball.”

In the top of the third inning, Steve McKenna hit a hard RBI double, and Jack Blake and Stefan Krol scored for Post 124 to tie the game 3-3. Northampton catcher Andrew Serio stopped Anthony Riga from scoring a third run on the play when Riga attempted to jump over him.

In the bottom of the third, Kevin Banas scored off a Pat Grygorcewicz triple to put Post 28 up 4-3. Post 28 furthered its lead in the bottom of the fifth when Banas hit a hard RBI triple to center field and Ostberg scored to make it 5-3.

Holt was impressed by how Banas has been performing in the postseason.

“Unbelievable. It would have been unbelievable either way, but he did the same thing (Saturday),” Holt said. “He shut the door on Agawam, and so we had him available to do the same thing today. And then to also have a huge hit on top of it was really cool.”

Banas ended the game by walking a ground ball from Krol over to first base to beat the runner and secure the win for Post 28.

“It was kind of a surprise. I kind of just got thrown in,” Banas said. “But I knew I was probably one of the better options, especially with all of the arms we’re running through. Everyone just has a tired or sore arm.”

Northampton struck in the first inning Hector DeJesus, Tim Horton and Ian Ostberg scored for Post 28 off RBIs from Will O’Connor and Grygorcewicz.

Banas replaced Brandon Ziakowski (one strikeout) in the fourth inning. Banas struck out three over four innings and allowed no earned runs.

Northampton is 3-1 in postseason play.

On Saturday morning, Northampton defeated Agawam 7-3. Zac Brittain, DeJesus and Serio scored twice and O’Connor scored once in the win. Northampton’s Liam Pitrat pitched the first three innings and Banas finished the game on the mound.

On Saturday afternoon, Westfield defeated Northampton 9-7. Horton and Ostberg scored twice and DeJesus, Grygorcewicz and Mike Mieczkowski scored once. Tristan Szawlowski, Ostberg, Brittain and Ziakowski pitched for Post 28.

“Every team is dealing with fatigue, and Westfield just had an unbelievable game against us yesterday,” Holt said. “They played so well we didn’t have really any margin for error, and because we made a few miscues, it cost us yesterday. It’s just the mistakes that we made, they took advantage of.”