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WMass Division 3 baseball: Frontier rallies in seventh to drop Greenfield

  • Frontier pitcher Ben Arnold (3) throws against Greenfield in the top of the fourth inning on Monday afternoon in South Deerfield, June 11, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Frontier's Kalen Evans, left, and Bryce Jordan celebrate after Evans scored in the bottom of the seventh inning against Greenfield on Monday afternoon in South Deerfield, June 11, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Frontier shortstop Kalen Evans (10) fields a grounder for an out against Greenfield in the top of the fifth inning on Monday afternoon in South Deerfield, June 11, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Frontier celebrates their win over Greenfield on Monday afternoon in South Deerfield, June 11, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • The Frontier dugout cheers after a hit in the bottom of the seventh inning against Greenfield on Monday afternoon in South Deerfield, June 11, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Frontier celebrates their win over Greenfield on Monday afternoon in South Deerfield, June 11, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Frontier celebrates their win over Greenfield on Monday afternoon in South Deerfield, June 11, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Frontier's Jacob Bryant (23) hits an RBI single to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning against Greenfield on Monday afternoon in South Deerfield, June 11, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Frontier's Garrett DeForest (2) sprints home to score on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth inning against Greenfield on Monday afternoon in South Deerfield, June 11, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little



For the Gazette
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Throughout the week, the message surrounding the Frontier Regional baseball team was that it was hard to beat a team three times in a season.

That was what the second-seeded Red Hawks were trying to do Monday afternoon at G.T. Valiton Field, where they hosted 10th-seeded Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament quarterfinals. The Hawks defeated the Green Wave twice during the regular season, but heading into the seventh inning, Greenfield clung to a one-run lead.

At that point, Frontier coach Chris Williams reminded his team that it only needed to beat the Green Wave in the frame, and his team responded by scoring twice in its final at-bats, including a one-out, walk-off single by Kiernan Freeman to send the Hawks to the semifinals with a 3-2 victory.

“That message going into the seventh inning was, ‘We don’t have to beat them three times, we don’t have to beat them one game, we just have to beat them one inning, right here, right now, and they rose to the occasion,’” Williams said.

Frontier advances to the semifinals, where it’ll play third-seeded Monument Mountain, Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield.

The Red Hawks (20-1) struggled to do much of anything early against Greenfield starting pitcher Owen Phelps. Then they began to get to the pitcher in the late innings, scoring once in the fifth before leaving two men on base in the sixth. With Phelps back to start the seventh, Williams sent pinch-hitter Alec Jordan to the plate. The senior came through by blasting Phelps’ second pitch over the head of Green Wave left fielder Jake Sak for a leadoff double.

“I figured it could have been my last at-bat so why not go out big,” Sak said. “I was a little nervous there, but once that first pitch came in, I was set right in. That’s what we needed to get us going.”

Jordan’s brother Bryce followed by bunting him to third and No. 9 hitter Jacob Bryant followed by lining an RBI single to left to tie the game. That brought up the top of the order, which to that point had been quiet, with the top three hitters 0-for-9 combined.

Matt Hildreth singled up the middle to move Bryant to second. Bryan Baumann hit a ground ball to short. On the play, Bryant slowed up in front of the ball to try to distract Greenfield shortstop Jake Suhl and the move paid dividends. The shortstop was unable to field the ball cleanly, and the error loaded the bases with one out for Frontier. Greenfield moved the infield in to set up a potential play at the plate, but Freeman smacked a hard ground ball up the first baseline that took a big hop past Greenfield first baseman Hunter Campbell for the game-winning RBI single.

“I went 0-for-3 all the way up to that at-bat, but the momentum switched and the confidence from the bench came out at that point,” Freeman said. “I was just trying to put the ball in play, honestly, anything in the outfield. I just wanted to make them make a play.”

The Green Wave (11-11) got to Frontier ace Ben Arnold for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. But Arnold settled in after that, allowing just four baserunners the rest of the way. The senior finished with six strikeouts and three walks, allowing four hits.

“It certainly wasn’t an ideal start to the game,” Williams said. “I never lost faith in Ben. I knew he was going to come back. I was just a little skeptical to when we were going to score our runs, but our guys never quit.”