Amherst Legion falls to Greenfield, sets up must-win game Saturday
GREENFIELD — An eight-run second inning did in Amherst Post 148 early and they were unable to recover as Greenfield advanced to the bracket championship of the third-round, double-elimination in the American Legion Baseball tournament with a 14-3 victory Friday night at Veterans Field.
Amherst is still alive in the tournament and will travel to Ludlow Saturday for an elimination game. Ludlow knocked top-seeded Aldenville out of the tourney with a 4-1 win Friday night at Szot Park.
An Amherst win Saturday would send the team back to Greenfield where it will have to defeat Post 81 twice to advance to the championship series against the winner of the other double-elimination bracket.
Tim Pruner had an RBI single in the loss, while Jamie Carey doubled and drove in a run on a sacrifice fly.
The second inning had an early moment of controversy after Post 81’s Brody Markol doubled to lead off in a scoreless game and went to third when Luke Bakker reached on an error.
Bakker stole second base but on the play Amherst catcher Zach Kelley fired a strike to third and caught Markol leaning. The tag appeared to get Markol but he was initially called safe on the play. Amherst coach Mike Bohl came out and appealed the play and Markol was then called out.
Greenfield responded against Amherst starter Brett Morrison. Andrew Doty launched an RBI double to left-center and Kevin Luippold followed that up with an RBI single. Jourdan York-Welcome then bunted for a single, and Jake Elwell drove in the third run of the inning with with a line-drive single to left.
A walk to Mark Buck loaded the bases and Niko Ames sent a fly ball to right field that would have scored one run but the ball was dropped and allowed two runs to score on the play.
Liam Datres de la Blotier then belted a double to center to score two more runs to make it 7-0. One more error in the inning allowed the eighth run to score.
“I think that play at third woke us up and made us realize that we had to come out and earn this win,” first-year Greenfield coach Tim Capuano said. “From there, the guys made it easy for me to coach because they were hitting the ball everywhere.”
Amherst got two runs back in the third but Greenfield kept the pressure on with one run in the third, three in the fourth and two more in the fifth to thwart any thoughts of an Amherst comeback.
Buck hit an RBI triple in the third inning to plate Elwell, who had reached on a two-out single, while Doty added two more RBIs in the fourth with his second hit of the night.
That was plenty of support for Greenfield starter Tyler Charboneau, who struck out four and walked one in six innings to earn the win. John Deskavich came on and pitched the seventh inning to finish things off.
It was a tough night for Amherst pitching as Morrison and reliever Ethan Young each struggled. Morrison started strong with a perfect first inning but was hit hard in the second and was lifted with one out. Young came on and pitched well until the fourth inning when he struggled to throw strikes and walked four in the frame, allowing three runs.
Kelley pitched the final three innings, striking out three and walking two.