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Division 1 baseball: Amherst 1-hit by Westfield in semifinal loss

  • Jack Schrader, left, of Amherst Regional, shows the ball to the umpire after tagging out Jake Toomey at second on a steal Thursday at Westfield State University.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Jack Schrader, left, of Amherst Regional, shows the ball to the umpire after tagging out Jake Toomey at second on a steal Thursday at Westfield State University.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jamey Carey of Amherst Regional connects against Westfield Thursday at Westfield State University. This hit went foul and was caught, but his hit earlier in the game scored Amherst's only run.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Jamey Carey of Amherst Regional connects against Westfield Thursday at Westfield State University. This hit went foul and was caught, but his hit earlier in the game scored Amherst's only run.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jack Schrader, right, of Amherst Regional, prepares to catch a throw to second that was out of reach for Justin Carey, left, Thursday at Westfield State University. Nate Barnes of Westfield, center, made it to second on a hit from Tim Donahue.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Jack Schrader, right, of Amherst Regional, prepares to catch a throw to second that was out of reach for Justin Carey, left, Thursday at Westfield State University. Nate Barnes of Westfield, center, made it to second on a hit from Tim Donahue.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Justin Carey, right, of Amherst Regional, throws to first after forcing out Tim Donahue of Westfield at second on a hit from Chris Sullivan Thursday at Westfield State University. He didn't complete the double play.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Justin Carey, right, of Amherst Regional, throws to first after forcing out Tim Donahue of Westfield at second on a hit from Chris Sullivan Thursday at Westfield State University. He didn't complete the double play.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Alec Snyder of Amherst Regional pitches to Westfield Thursday at Westfield State University.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Alec Snyder of Amherst Regional pitches to Westfield Thursday at Westfield State University.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Justin Carey, left, of Amherst Regional, dives back to first against Nate Barnes of Westfield on a pick attempt Thursday at Westfield State University. Carey was safe.JERREY ROBERTS

    Justin Carey, left, of Amherst Regional, dives back to first against Nate Barnes of Westfield on a pick attempt Thursday at Westfield State University. Carey was safe.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Justin Carey, left, of Amherst Regional, is struck by at throw to Aris Larancuent of Westfield on a pick attempt at second Thursday at Westfield State University.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Justin Carey, left, of Amherst Regional, is struck by at throw to Aris Larancuent of Westfield on a pick attempt at second Thursday at Westfield State University.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Justin Carey, left, of Amherst Regional, is greeted at home after scoring on a hit by his brother, Jamey Carey, Thursday at Westfield State University.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Justin Carey, left, of Amherst Regional, is greeted at home after scoring on a hit by his brother, Jamey Carey, Thursday at Westfield State University.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Asher Young, right, of Amherst Regional, prepares to catch during a pick attempt on Jake Toomey of Westfield Thursday at Westfield State University. Toomey was safe. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Asher Young, right, of Amherst Regional, prepares to catch during a pick attempt on Jake Toomey of Westfield Thursday at Westfield State University. Toomey was safe.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jack Schrader, left, of Amherst Regional, shows the ball to the umpire after tagging out Jake Toomey at second on a steal Thursday at Westfield State University.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Jamey Carey of Amherst Regional connects against Westfield Thursday at Westfield State University. This hit went foul and was caught, but his hit earlier in the game scored Amherst's only run.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Jack Schrader, right, of Amherst Regional, prepares to catch a throw to second that was out of reach for Justin Carey, left, Thursday at Westfield State University. Nate Barnes of Westfield, center, made it to second on a hit from Tim Donahue.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Justin Carey, right, of Amherst Regional, throws to first after forcing out Tim Donahue of Westfield at second on a hit from Chris Sullivan Thursday at Westfield State University. He didn't complete the double play.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Alec Snyder of Amherst Regional pitches to Westfield Thursday at Westfield State University.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Justin Carey, left, of Amherst Regional, dives back to first against Nate Barnes of Westfield on a pick attempt Thursday at Westfield State University. Carey was safe.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Justin Carey, left, of Amherst Regional, is struck by at throw to Aris Larancuent of Westfield on a pick attempt at second Thursday at Westfield State University.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Justin Carey, left, of Amherst Regional, is greeted at home after scoring on a hit by his brother, Jamey Carey, Thursday at Westfield State University.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Asher Young, right, of Amherst Regional, prepares to catch during a pick attempt on Jake Toomey of Westfield Thursday at Westfield State University. Toomey was safe. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS

WESTFIELD — Alec Snyder-Fair certainly deserved a better fate in his first career postseason appearance on Thursday afternoon.

The Amherst Regional junior right-hander threw 110 pitches in a complete-game four-hitter, but his first 13 offerings of the game decided the outcome as Westfield defeated the Hurricanes 2-1 in the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinals at Westfield State University.

“It’s pretty hard to four-hit a team like Westfield, so I really can’t be upset with my outing,” Snyder-Fair said. “There were a couple bad bounces there in the first. If those went our way, maybe the game turns out differently.”

The defending sectional champion Bombers scored two runs in the top of the first and starting pitcher Brent Houle fired a one-hitter to make the lead stand up.

“We had some hard-hit balls that didn’t get down, and none of the breaks seemed to go our way,” Amherst coach Greg Vouros said. “Alec pitched one heck of a game, mixing in three pitches against a lineup with a lot of hitters you fear. We knew he’d keep us right in it. But a one-game elimination scenario is always tough.”

No. 7 Westfield (14-9) won its third straight one-run playoff game to earn the opportunity to defend the title against top-seeded Agawam (17-5) Saturday at 4 p.m. at UMass. The Brownies topped No. 4 Cathedral 12-4 in the other semifinal.

Houle set down the first 10 Amherst batters. With one out in the fourth, Justin Carey worked a walk and stole second. His brother, sophomore Jamie Carey, delivered a two-out RBI single up the middle to cut the deficit in half.

“As a third-year player and the No. 2 hitter, I pride myself in getting on base,” Justin Carey said. “Jamie did a great job all season driving guys in, and the other guys down the lineup are good hitters. So when (leadoff hitter) Jack (Schrader) and I get on, it really starts our offense. We just couldn’t do enough as a team today.”

No. 3 Amherst (15-7) didn’t move another runner into scoring position and Houle capped the victory with his fifth strikeout on his 93rd pitch. He retired the final nine hitters, four on strikeouts.

“We were expecting to see (Nate) Barnes, but I guess he got hurt,” Justin Carey said. Houle “had some good movement on his ball, and he had late life on it. It didn’t look too fast from the on-deck circle, but the pitches got on us quickly. We’re a good fastball hitting team, but he also had a sharp breaking ball that kept us off balance.”

Used all season in relief, Houle pitched from the stretch the entire afternoon.

“Seeing a guy pitch from the stretch all game wasn’t a huge factor, but it was a different look for us,” Justin Carey said. “I still feel we put up some good at-bats.”

Westfield center fielder Kyle Murphy (2-for-4, run) was the only player on either team with multiple hits. He led off the game with a single, then swiped second.

No. 2 hitter Jake Toomey missed a 1-2 pitch in the dirt, but when the ball got past catcher Jose Cabrera, Toomey reached with Murphy going to third.

After Toomey stole second, a pair of wild pitches by Snyder-Fair allowed both runners to scamper home.

“I thought I had pretty good stuff in the first, but throwing breaking balls in the dirt doesn’t get in done,” Snyder-Fair said. “It’s especially tough to strike a guy out and see him get on base because of a wild pitch.”

Snyder-Fair finished with four strikeouts and four walks.

“We talked about the importance of putting up a zero in the first inning, and unfortunately that didn’t happen,” Vouros said. “There was only one hit in the inning, but a combination of things went against us. We really wanted to win that first inning, and sure enough that was the difference.”

Later in the inning, the Bombers loaded the bases with one out. Third baseman Jamie Carey trapped Sam Blake’s liner and threw home for the force. Because the runners had to freeze momentarily, Cabrera had time to fire to a covering Justin Carey at third for a rare 5-2-6 double play.

“I was very encouraged by getting out of the inning with that double play,” Vouros said. “The guys really battled to escape that jam. That was a positive sign, but we just couldn’t get anything going with the bats.”

It was the final high school game for 12 Amherst seniors — Justin Carey, Cabrera, Schrader, Asher Young, Ty Peake, Angelo Fabozzi, Jaimon Olmsted, Tim Pruner, CJ Rogalski, Dylan Hebert, Isaac Burke and Kory Krumrey.

“These guys followed in the footsteps of that 2010 (state championship) team and were a very important class to the program,” Vouros said. “I can’t say enough about our two captains — Asher Young and Justin Carey. They led by example every day and carried themselves so well on and off the field.”

Carey added, “This is a great group of seniors, we all pushed each other and led the team the best we could. We’ve all played together since we were all 5 years old. So I’m really going to miss playing with them. It’s tough coming up short, but we can hold our heads up. Overall we had a great season.”

Michael Wilkinson can be reached at mwilkinson@gazettenet.com.

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