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King & Cushman Post 28 rally falls short in loss to Wilbraham

Trailing Wilbraham by three runs, Northampton center fielder Keith Natale drew a walk, followed by hits from Dave Konowitch and Cam Woodward. They were King & Cushman’s first hits off Wilbraham’s Tyler Tongue since the third inning, and they loaded the bases with no outs and the potential winning run at the plate.

Tongue got out of the jam, however, striking out Christian Smiarowski looking and getting Mike Molloy to ground into a 6-3 double play to give Wilbraham a 4-1 American Legion win at Arcanum Field.

“My guys battled to the end,” Northampton coach Carl Clapp said. “We just came up a bit short.”

King & Cushman (2-2) took an early lead over Wilbraham (3-1) off a first inning home run from Zach Goodwin-Boyd. With two outs, right-handed hitter Goodwin-Boyd drove the ball to deep right field for an opposite field homer that put Northampton on top 1-0.

“I knew there’s a short porch out there,” Goodwin-Boyd said. “I wouldn’t say that I got all of it, but it definitely felt good coming off my bat.”

Goodwin-Boyd (2-for-3) had two of Northampton’s four hits.

“Zach got us going,” Clapp said. “He’s one of the best shortstops in the league, and one of the best hitters on our team. I love coaching him.”

Bryan Borges-Vega earned the loss for King & Cushman. Borges-Vega struck out seven and allowed one run through five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth. He gave up a leadoff double, followed by a single. With two runners on, Borges-Vega gave up a two-run, bases-clearing double to Dauton Helm, putting Wilbraham up 3-1. Borges-Vega got out of the sixth, and worked another third of an inning before Clapp brought in Adam Osherow for relief.

“Brian’s a competitor,” Clapp said. “He didn’t want to come out, but he was up over 100 pitches and didn’t seem to have his best stuff. When you’re coaching 18- and 19-year-old kids, you want to make sure you protect their arms.”

After the game, Clapp tried to keep the focus on his team’s next opponent.

“We have a day off and then we have South Hadley,” he said. “They have a strong pitching staff and good hitters. If you don’t score more than one or two runs you aren’t going to win in Legion.”

“We have to hit the ball,” Goodwin-Boyd added. “We have pitching and a great defense. It’s just a matter of staying focused.”

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