Baseball: Northampton nearly comes all the way back before falling to Chicopee 15-14 (PHOTOS)

Northampton’s Aiden Zera (10) dives back into first base during the Blue Devils’ game against Chicopee on Monday in Northampton.

Northampton’s Aiden Zera (10) dives back into first base during the Blue Devils’ game against Chicopee on Monday in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Northampton pitcher Asher Garretson fires to first base for an out during the Blue Devils’ game against Chicopee on Monday in Northampton.

Northampton pitcher Asher Garretson fires to first base for an out during the Blue Devils’ game against Chicopee on Monday in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Northampton’s Aiden Keeling-Lococo (8) heads for third base during the Blue Devils’ game against Chicopee on Monday in Northampton.

Northampton’s Aiden Keeling-Lococo (8) heads for third base during the Blue Devils’ game against Chicopee on Monday in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Northampton’s Matthew Walko connects during the Blue Devils’ game against Chicopee on Monday in Northampton.

Northampton’s Matthew Walko connects during the Blue Devils’ game against Chicopee on Monday in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Northampton catcher Matthew Baird knocks down a pitch in the dirt while Chicopee’s Xavion Maldonado tells a runner to stay put the Blue Devils’ 15-14 loss on Monday in Northampton.

Northampton catcher Matthew Baird knocks down a pitch in the dirt while Chicopee’s Xavion Maldonado tells a runner to stay put the Blue Devils’ 15-14 loss on Monday in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Northampton’s Ethan Kircsak (25) runs toward third base against Chicopee during action on Monday in Northampton.

Northampton’s Ethan Kircsak (25) runs toward third base against Chicopee during action on Monday in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 04-22-2024 9:33 PM

NORTHAMPTON — It looked like a comeback that would be talked about for years to come for the Northampton baseball team.

Behind 14-5 entering the bottom of the sixth inning on their home field, the Blue Devils refused to roll over in the late stages of their game with Chicopee on a cloudless Monday afternoon. Northampton rattled off three runs in the sixth before surrendering a 15th run to the Pacers in the top of the seventh.

Then the Blue Devils’ bats woke up.

Ethan Kircsak and Matthew Walko each singled and scored to start the inning, followed by two outs in a row to put Northampton on the brink trailing 15-10.

But seven consecutive singles (Bryan Meza-Rivera, Matthew Baird, Johnny Nields-Duffy, Sky Allen-Brezsnyak, Aiden Zera, Kircsak and Walko) plated four runs and loaded the bases for Aiden Keeling-Lococo – who had reached base on four of his earlier five plate appearances.

Keeling-Lococo swung at the first pitch he saw and drove it into the right-center gap, but a Chicopee defender dashed over and caught it to put Northampton’s comeback bid to rest.

Northampton fell 15-14 in an offensive-driven contest to fall to 0-6 this season.

“Usually when you score 14 runs, you should win the ballgame. But in this case, they scored 15,” Blue Devils head coach Andrew Serio said. “It’s a shock, but at the same time, we gave them too many runs early in the game. We’re just not a good enough team at this point in time to turn it on halfway through a game.”

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Chicopee scored in every inning but the first, while Northampton went scoreless in three of the first four (a three-run third being the outlier). The Blue Devils then erupted for 11 runs over the final three frames to get back in it, relying heavily on the top-half of their lineup.

Kircsak went 2-for-5 with two runs and a walk, Walko went 4-for-5 with three singles, a double and three runs, Keeling-Lococo drove in two runs and scored twice and Jamie Fowler and Bryan Meza-Rivera each tallied two hits and two RBI apiece.

“There’s a reason we have that top of the lineup the way it is,” Serio said. “It’s been mainly that same core of five guys so far this season. We have two freshmen (Keeling-Lococo and Walko) in that bunch. Those top guys are definitely swinging it, and the rest of the lineup is starting to mesh as well.”

Defense has been the issue for Northampton this season, and six more errors plagued the Blue Devils on Monday. They’ve now given up 10 or more runs in five of their six contests this spring.

Northampton returns to the diamond on Tuesday for a 4:30 p.m. road game with East Longmeadow.

Frontier 3, Hopkins 1 – Scoreless into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Redhawks finally broke through against Hopkins Academy ace Beau Elson. Frontier scored three times in the inning, and held off a Golden Hawks rally in the top of the seventh to snag a 3-1 Suburban League West triump on Monday in South Deerfield.

Rosco Palmer was 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Redhawks, which also received an RBI from Wyatt Edes and a hit from Nico Fasulo, who scored the game’s first run.

Frontier’s Tyler Cusson went six innings and earned the win, striking out six and walking five while giving up just three hits. Max Skribiski-Banack got the final three outs, striking out two.

Elson struck out eight and allowed just three hits in a complete-game outing for Hopkins. He also had two hits and an RBI to help himself at the plate.

 Smith Voc 15, Commerce 1 (5) – The Vikings racked up 17 hits in just four innings of offense, including an 11-run bottom of the first en route to the decisive win on Monday.

Zack Bramucci was 4-for-4 with two RBIs to pace Smith Voc. Jared Baer (three hits, two RBIs), James Lavallee  (three hits, four RBIs), Pat Millin (two hits, RBI), Kaleb Jorrits ma (two hits, RBI) and Corey Kirkendall (two hits, RBI) all had multiple hits. Jorritsma struck out 11 in a five-inning outing on the mound, scattering five hits.

Pope Francis 6, Belchertown 3 – The Orioles led 3-0 into the bottom of the fourth inning but couldn’t hold off the Cardinals on Monday.

Ian McDonald and Josh Misiaszek had two hits apiece for Belchertown. Misiaszek, Evan Ferguson and Jake Waller notched RBIs.

Ware 10, Amherst 1 – Neil Cunniffe, Matt Vassallo and Thatcher Rudnik all had a hit for the Hurricanes in Monday’s loss.

Matt Vassallo drove in the lone run for Amherst.

Wahconah 14, Granby 0 (5) — An 11-run second inning doomed the Rams on Monday, and they were no-hit by Wahconah in a combined effort on the mound.

Brennan Dwyer (two), Brandon Carillon and Nikolas Misiaszek each walked at the plate for Granby.

East Longmeadow 10, Holyoke 0 (6) — Justin Rivera, Jaden Diaz and Matt Dumoulin each tallied a hit – the only three for the Purple Knights – in the loss on Monday.

The Spartans ripped off seven runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back.

Hampshire 13, Greenfield 3 (6) – The Raiders only needed six innings to handle the Green Wave on their home field Monday afternoon.

Hampshire bounced back from a loss against another Franklin County team in Pioneer Valley Regional with a strong offensive showing. 

Mohawk Trail 13, Smith Academy 3 — The Falcons couldn’t generate enough offense to hang with the Warriors on Monday.

In each of Smith Academy’s (0-5) five losses, they’ve surrendered a dozen runs or more. Up next for the Falcons is Turners Falls on Thursday.

Pioneer 15, Easthampton 0 (5) — The Eagles had no response for the Panthers’ hot bats and strong pitching from Jackson Glazier, who fanned 10 Easthampton batters while only giving up two hits.

Easthampton’s (1-4) next bout isn’t any easier, as it hosts Hampshire County power Hopkins on Thursday.