Greenfield edges Belchertown Post 239 for state tourney berth (PHOTOS)

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  • Pat Fitzgibbons celebrates after being batted in by Andrew Ciaglo to put Belchertown Post 239 on the board in the first inning of a 3-2 loss to Greenfield Post 81 in the American Legion district championship held at Landers Diamond in South Hadley on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown Post 239 pitcher Jack Feltovic delivers in the first inning of a 3-2 loss to Greenfield Post 81 in the American Legion district championship held at Landers Diamond in South Hadley on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Tyler Dubeuil, right, Greenfield Post 81 tags back safely under a throw from Belchertown Post 239 pitcher Jack Feltovic to first baseman Nate Mills in the fifth inning of Greenfield's 3-2 win in the American Legion district championship held at Landers Diamond in South Hadley on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield Post 81's David Carey delivers to opposing pitcher Jack Feltovic of Belchertown Post 239 at the plate in the first inning of Greenfield's 3-2 win in the American Legion district championship held at Landers Diamond in South Hadley on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield Post 81 shortstop Kyle Barnes fields a grounder by Pat Fitzgibbons, left, of Belchertown Post 239 but an overthrow to first allowed Fitzgibbons to reach second in the first inning of Greenfield's 3-2 win in the American Legion district championship held at Landers Diamond in South Hadley on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield Post 81 players celebrate a double paly that ended the fourth inning of their American Legion district championship win over Belchertown Post 239 at Landers Diamond in South Hadley on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield Post 81 players celebrate a double paly that ended the fourth inning of their American Legion district championship win over Belchertown Post 239 at Landers Diamond in South Hadley on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield Post 81 players celebrate a double paly that ended the fourth inning of their American Legion district championship win over Belchertown Post 239 at Landers Diamond in South Hadley on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown Post 239 pitcher Jack Feltovic delivers in the first inning of a 3-2 loss to Greenfield Post 81 in the American Legion district championship held at Landers Diamond in South Hadley on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Andrew Ciaglo of Belchertown Post 239 connects to bat in Patrick Fitzgibbons from third in the first inning of a 3-2 loss to Greenfield Post 81 in the American Legion district championship held at Landers Diamond in South Hadley on Tuesday.

Staff Writer
Published: 7/19/2022 9:26:52 PM
Modified: 7/19/2022 9:26:27 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Greenfield Post 81 coach Kevin Luippold worried about sending David Carey to the mound for a third time against Belchertown Post 239.

The Greenfield pitcher had already beaten Post 239 twice this season, but Luippold was concerned what a third crack would bring.

“At that point you’re flirting with the devil,” Luippold said.

Lucifer didn’t bite. Carey powered through a shaky first inning with two unearned runs then threw six scoreless innings in a complete game 3-2 victory in the District 3 title game to send Post 81 back to the American Legion Senior Division state tournament.

Greenfield will play the District 10 winner at 1 p.m. Saturday at Fino Field in Milford.

Carey allowed just five hits and one walk, striking out five.

“He kept the balls down on the ground and the popouts didn’t really carry,” Luippold said. 

Carey gave himself room to work with in the top of the first inning. Tyler Dubreuil opened the game with a walk, then Carey smoked an RBI triple to right field for a 1-0 lead.

“I was looking curve earlier in the at bat but (Belchertown pitcher Jack Feltovic) hadn’t thrown me one, so I knew he was just gonna give me another fastball,” Carey said. “I just stuck with it.”

Jason Quinn didn’t leave him standing on first long. He poked an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.

“You always want to keep the momentum rolling and put the bat on the ball again,” Quinn said.

Two runs would be more than enough for Post 81 in most of Carey’s starts. Belchertown made sure it needed more in the bottom of the first.

Patrick Fitzgibbons reached on an error then went to second on the throw to first sailing out of play. Then Andrew Ciaglo put the ball in play to the left side of the infield that scored Fizgibbons on another error to make it 2-1. After a popout, Feltovic singled to put runners on first and third. Collin Kennedy followed with an RBI single to knot the game at 2.

“Sitting fastball. He throws pretty hard. We knew what was coming,” Kennedy said. 

A groundout moved the runners over to second and third, but Carey induced a popout to exit the inning. That was the last time a Belchertown runner reached third base.

“It’s a good think it happened early because I knew I had time to settle in,” Carey said. “If that happened later in the game it would have given them way more momentum.”

Instead, Greenfield countered. Dubreuil walked with two outs, then Carey poked a single up the middle. That could have ended the play if Belchertown settled the ball, but the Orioles tried to throw to third to cut down Dubreuil. The ball sailed and brought around Dubreuil for what became the winning run.

Not for lack of trying from Belchertown. Post 239 put runners on base in four of the remaining six innings but couldn’t bring anyone home.

“Unfortunately we’re used to it because we’ve made a lot of errors this season,” Luippold said. “We’re getting used to it at this point, battling back after making mistakes. We preach accountability here, so I think it showed. No one hung their head.”

Belchertown’s Nate Mills blooped a single in the bottom of the third after an Andrew Ciaglo walk but was picked of first base. 

Then Ty Gladu dropped a single just over the infield in the fourth and stole second. After a strikeout, Austin Endelos laced a ball down the third base line right into Quinn’s glove. He fired a throw back to second that doubled up Gladu and ended the threat.

“The thing with baserunners is more basemen to tag out,” Quinn said. “It was definitely a reaction play. I saw it off the bat and stuck my glove up.”

Carey worked around one baserunner in both the fifth (Ciaglo error) and sixth (Kennedy single) before a 1-2-3 seventh secured the win.

Greenfield is still awaiting its state tournament opponent but will approach the game prepared. Post 81’s roster is filled to the brim with high school state tournament experience and returning players form last year’s run.

“At this point we’ve got a lot of veterans, it’s weird to say, but they’ve played in a lot of big games,” Luippold said. “Luckily we know what we’re getting into.”

Belchertown’s season isn’t over, however. Post 239 will begin the first round of an eight-team tournament that will decide the district’s participant in the Chairman’s Cup tournament as the No. 1 seed. Belchertown will host No. 8 East Springfield Post 420 in the first game of a three-game series at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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