Class D baseball: 12-run 4th inning propels Granby into title game (PHOTOS)

  • Granby pitcher Collin Kennedy throws against Mt. Everett in the top of the second inning Thursday in Granby. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Granby pitcher Collin Kennedy throws against Mt. Everett in the top of the second inning Thursday in Granby. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Granby’s Ryan Gaughan (11), right, celebrates with Collin Kennedy after scoring against Mt. Everett in the bottom of the first inning Thursday in Granby. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Granby’s Ray Toth blasts an RBI triple against Mt. Everett in the bottom of the first inning Thursday in Granby. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Granby players after Ray Toth (14) scores against Mt. Everett in the bottom of the first inning Thursday in Granby. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Granby’s Ryan Gaughan puts the bat on the ball for a single against Mt. Everett in the bottom of the first inning Thursday in Granby. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Granby’s Ray Toth scores on a wild throw after hitting an RBI triple against Mt. Everett in the bottom of the first inning Thursday in Granby. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer 
Published: 5/26/2022 9:00:18 PM

GRANBY — After blasting a home run in the Western Mass. Class D semifinals, Granby senior Raymond Toth didn’t celebrate very much when he crossed home plate for the second time that day. 

His teammates teased him as he walked back to the dugout, asking him if he was going to crack as smile. He was saving it for later – the game was still close, and there was still a lot of baseball to be played. 

“We still had a long way to go,” Toth said. “After last year, that was a tough loss. I knew we had to keep going, because anything can happen.” 

In last year’s Western Mass tournament, the undefeated Rams were shocked by Ware in the semifinals, losing 1-0 and ending their season with a heartbreaker. Toth and his teammates were determined to not let the same thing happen this year. 

After a close three innings, the top-seeded Rams blew the game wide open, scoring a jaw-dropping 12 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to run away with a 16-2 win over the fourth-seeded Eagles. That offensive firepower was highlighted by Toth’s performance, going 4-for-4 at the plate with a whopping eight RBIs. Two of his hits were home runs, one that went over the left field fence and another inside-the-park home run where he was able to jog across home plate. 

“Raymond, his performance was probably one of the best offensive performances I’ve seen here in a long time,” Granby head coach Jim Woods said. 

With the win, the Rams secured their spot in the Class B finals against No. 2 Pioneer Valley Regional, which bested No. 3 Hopkins Academy to earn their spot in the championship game. 

Every one of Granby’s nine batters crossed home plate at least once, and all but one of them got at least one hit. Mount Everett starting pitcher Ben Shannon looked strong against the Rams in the first two innings despite Toth’s early in-the-park homer, but Granby got to him eventually. He gave up another home run in the third along with two doubles to make it 5-2 Rams, and walked two of the first three batters to open the fourth. 

Heyden Cutlip came on in relief after the Eagles got one out in the fourth, and that was when the floodgates opened for Granby. The Rams were able to get through their entire lineup before Mount Everett could get another out. By game’s end, Shannon finished with seven hits and one strikeout in 3⅓ innings, and Cutlip allowed seven hits and nine runs with two walks and one strikeouts. 

While Toth was perfect at the plate, there were a number of other Granby players who had standout performances Thursday. Brandon Wishart and Daniel Gauvin both finished with two hits and two runs apiece, and Gauvin also had a remarkable diving save in right field early in the game. Michael Toth finished with two hits and an RBI.

The Eagles got both their runs in the top of the third, thanks in large part to a perfectly-executed double steal that Granby couldn’t stop. With Shannon on third and Nathaniel Von Ruden on first, Von Ruden drew attention away with a steal attempt, drawing the throw to first base. Shannon managed to make it home and Von Ruden made it safely to second base on a failed attempt to catch Shannon stealing. Von Ruden scored their second run shortly after on a hit from Hunter DeGrenier.

Despite their defensive errors in the third, the Rams were able to stay mentally strong and rebound in the third and fourth to secure the win. Woods noted after the game that this particular group has a lot of talent and depth that has been present on past teams, but not to this degree. Pair that with a group that seems to be putting together every aspect of their game at the right time, and the Rams will be tough to beat in the finals.

“We played fundamentally today, (that) was the biggest thing. We've had some games that we can’t base run right, we're not picking up signs and today we didn't miss any signs, and we had the base runners doing what they needed to do,” Toth said. “Just simple things like that we haven't done all year, it's finally coming together and it's just what we need right now.”


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