Easthampton’s uses early surge to roll past South Hadley in Mickey Mantle Tournament
SOUTH HADLEY — Sixth-seeded Easthampton scored 10 runs in the first three innings and cruised from there en route to a 12-3 win over No. 5 South Hadley in the Mickey Mantle Tournament Thursday.
Easthampton (5-14) will host No. 3 Mohawk (10-8) at Booster Field on Friday at 5:30. The winner will advance to play Saturday, while the loser will be eliminated.
Zack Crisafulli walked and stole second in the top of the first to begin Easthampton’s four-run burst. Kyle Richard doubled to left field, driving in Crisafulli, and scored on Brandon Bennett’s sacrifice fly to center to put the home team up 2-0.
After Hunter Leveille singled to left field, James Ryan drove in Bennett on an RBI ground out. Steven Ranney’s line drive single to left field score Leveille and put Easthampton ahead 4-0.
“We jumped out early. I told them to stay smart and aggressive at the plate, the first good pitch the guy throws go get it.” Easthampton coach Dan LaBonte said. “We told these guys all year and especially these last few games that we want them to be smart and aggressive from the start, so we’re very happy.”
In the second, Bennett hit a sacrifice to center field to score Shy Torres to make it 5-0.
Tyler Uishaway and Ranney walked to start Easthampton’s five-run surge in the third. Kevin Lincoln followed with a fly-ball single to left field which knocked in both runners. Torres hit a single to left field scoring Lincoln.
After, Crisafulli walked, Richard singled to center to score Torres and Crisafulli to make it 9-0.
With two outs, Ranney struck out, but took first when the pitch got past the catcher. He scored on L.J. Bara’s RBI single to make it 10-0.
Easthampton added a run in both the fourth and the sixth.
Leveille earned the win for Easthampton. He struck out eight and walked three.
South Hadley (4-15) scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Justin Kleeberg hit a line-drive single to left field and stole second to start the rally.
After James Foley singled, Brian Bak followed with a base hit to scored Kleeburg. Foley and Bak moved up on a ground and scored on Adam Piloclowski’s two-run single that made it 11-3.
“Once again today we were undermanned with only 10 guys, and I told them whatever the outcome is, it’s still baseball, so continue to play hard and work hard,” South Hadley coach Bob Bak said. “Unfortunately the outcome wasn’t what we liked, but the kids stuck in there and they gave it their all pretty much.
“It was a tough season overall but it’s a young team and it’s experience for them to work on their game and come back next year even better.”
Easthampton 12, South Hadley 3
Easthampton 415 101 —12 10 0
South Hadley 000 03x —3 9 3
WP - Leveille; LP - Simone
Records: Easthampton (5-14) South Hadley (4-15)