Baseball: Big first inning powers Granby past Smith Academy in season opener (PHOTOS)

Smith Academy pitcher Harry LaFlamme (23) throws against Granby in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby.

Smith Academy pitcher Harry LaFlamme (23) throws against Granby in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Granby baserunner Brodie Funk (2) hits an RBI single against Smith Academy in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby.

Granby baserunner Brodie Funk (2) hits an RBI single against Smith Academy in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Smith Academy second baseman Harry LaFlamme (23) throws to first for an out against Granby in the bottom of the second inning Friday in Granby.

Smith Academy second baseman Harry LaFlamme (23) throws to first for an out against Granby in the bottom of the second inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Granby baserunner Brodie Funk (2) steals third base on a passed ball against Smith Academy in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby.

Granby baserunner Brodie Funk (2) steals third base on a passed ball against Smith Academy in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Smith Academy baserunner Cam Graves (13) sprints home to score against Granby in the top of the third inning Friday in Granby.

Smith Academy baserunner Cam Graves (13) sprints home to score against Granby in the top of the third inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Granby baserunner Nikolas Misiaszek (7) slides safely into home plate to score ahead of the tag from Smith Academy pitcher Harry LaFlamme (23) in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby.

Granby baserunner Nikolas Misiaszek (7) slides safely into home plate to score ahead of the tag from Smith Academy pitcher Harry LaFlamme (23) in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Granby’s Nikolas Misiaszek (7) drives in two runs with an RBI double against Smith Academy in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby.

Granby’s Nikolas Misiaszek (7) drives in two runs with an RBI double against Smith Academy in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Granby baserunner Colin Murdock (4) rounds third base to score against Smith Academy in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby.

Granby baserunner Colin Murdock (4) rounds third base to score against Smith Academy in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Smith Academy pitcher Harry LaFlamme (23) throws against Granby in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby.

Smith Academy pitcher Harry LaFlamme (23) throws against Granby in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Granby’s Brodie Funk (2) drives in a run against Smith Academy in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby.

Granby’s Brodie Funk (2) drives in a run against Smith Academy in the bottom of the first inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Smith Academy second baseman Harry LaFlamme (23) reels in a fly ball for an out against Granby in the bottom of the second inning Friday in Granby.

Smith Academy second baseman Harry LaFlamme (23) reels in a fly ball for an out against Granby in the bottom of the second inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Smith Academy baserunner Cam Graves (13) slides safely into third base ahead of the tag from Granby third baseman Spencer Labonte (11) in the top of the third inning Friday in Granby.

Smith Academy baserunner Cam Graves (13) slides safely into third base ahead of the tag from Granby third baseman Spencer Labonte (11) in the top of the third inning Friday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Granby pitcher Brandon Carillon throws against Smith Academy in the top of the second inning Friday in Granby

Granby pitcher Brandon Carillon throws against Smith Academy in the top of the second inning Friday in Granby STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 03-29-2024 8:14 PM

GRANBY — After inclement weather caused every outdoor game on Thursday’s opening day of the spring season to be postponed, Hampshire County teams finally started spring regular season play Friday on a sunny, 50-degree afternoon.

And the Granby baseball team started out hot. The Rams scored 11 times in the first inning to capture a 15-4 win over Smith Academy in the season opener for both teams.

“It was really good to finally be outside again,” Granby senior second baseman Colin Murdock said. “To get going in that first inning, it was a lot of fun.”

After Smith Academy notched a run in the top of the first, Granby’s first seven runners in the bottom of the inning reached base. 

With starting catcher Rob Slysz out, the Falcons were forced to rearrange their lineup, and only two players started at their usual positions. After the first two Granby batters reached base, Smith Academy pitcher Harry LaFlamme struck out two batters and induced some weak contact, but fielding miscues doomed the Falcons as each of those Granby batters ended up reaching base.

Granby nearly batted around twice in the first inning, and Nik Misiaszek and Spencer Labonte made Smith Academy pay for its defensive miscues with back-to-back two run doubles down the left field line. At the end of the first inning, Granby had 11 runs and Smith Academy had nine errors.

Once both teams settled in, the two sides scored four runs each over the remaining three and a half innings. The game was called after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.

“You saw the last inning when we had our infield in,” Smith Academy head coach Jacob Butler said. “They were lights out.”

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Butler, a graduate of St. Mary’s and a former baseball player at Westfield State, is in his first year as Smith Academy’s varsity baseball coach. He takes over from Mike Afflitto, now the softball coach at Granby, which played Smith Academy in a game of its own on the adjacent field.

Butler said he and new JV coach Jeff Payne are trying to build up the Falcons program.

“We’ve got a lot to improve on but I think we’ll be fine,” Butler said. “I really think we’ll be fine. We’ve got a great group of guys. I’m not worried.”

Granby baseball coach Jim Woods is entering his 22nd season in the Rams’ dugout. Granby is usually scrimmaging this week, then playing their opener next week. Nevertheless, he thought it was a good start to the season for his Rams players.

“Starting with a quicker turnaround than we typically do,” Woods said. “But it’s good to knock off some of the rust.”